In what can only be described as an organized attempt to prove that America has a strong sense of irony, moviegoers braved heavy snowfall and chilly temperatures to make Frozen the No. 1 film of the weekend. Disney's latest animated musical, about a princess with the magic power to create deadly cold fronts, made $20.7 million over the post-holiday weekend—this despite the actual cold front that swept over huge portions of the nation, which came unaccompanied by spunky Broadway-style showstoppers. Frozen is the first movie since Avatar to hit No. 1 on the box-office charts in its sixth week of release. Defying expectations—and meteorologists' warnings—the film has grossed a mighty $297 million in the U.S. alone. That's only about $100 million shy of Disney's all-time animated record-holder, The Lion King. Should the bad weather stick around, and ticket-buyers continue to respond to it with sarcastic movie-night selections, Frozen might just make it to the top.
Meanwhile, the week's only new wide release, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones—set in balmy, snow-free California— got a fairly chilly reception from audiences. The spinoff of the popular found-footage horror franchise opened to $18 million, which is great considering its $5 million price tag, but not-so-great considering that the last entry in the series, Paranormal Activity 4, made $29 million out of the gate. Given how well fright flicks tend to do in January, regardless of their quality, that mediocre intake could be seen as a death knell for the Paranormal brand—except an official fifth installment is due later in the year, presumably around Halloween.
The charts were otherwise dominated by December holdovers, as prospective awards contenders crept into more theaters nationwide and audiences caught up with some of the many, many movies that opened around Christmas. The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug continued to make Peter Jackson's… unique adaptation strategy look like a stroke of genius; that film added another $16 million, bringing its grand domestic total to $229 million. Worldwide, it's made about $757 million—or, in Middle-earth terms, approximately half of the treasure in Smaug's lair. On the U.S. charts, the top five was rounded out by dueling Goodfellas descendants: Scorsese's The Wolf Of Wall Street ($13.4 million) edged out a blatant Scorsese homage, American Hustle ($13.2 million), to claim the No. 4 spot. Speaking of snow…
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