'Anchorman 2' barely beats 'The Hobbit' sequel with $8.7 million on Friday: Box office update

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Image Credit: Gemma LaMana

Ron Burgundy won out by a mustache hair over those pesky hobbits at the box office Friday. Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues brought in $8.7 million, while The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug earned an estimated $8.6 million. In the words of Burgundy himself, “don’t act like you’re not impressed.” Still, this unexpectedly close Friday means that the weekend could belong to either film.

Anchorman 2 opened strong on Wednesday, and initial predictions had the PG-13 comedy’s weekend grosses in the $40 million range. That seems a bit high now that we’ve seen Friday results. Paramount’s $50 million comedy boasts a three-day domestic total of $21.9 million. Meanwhile, Warner Bros.’ Hobbit sequel has now earned an estimated $104.7 million domestically in its second week in theaters and will likely cross the $300 million mark worldwide. The first film had earned more than $123.2 million at this point last year and went on to gross over $300 million domestically.

Director David O. Russell’s ’70s spectacle American Hustle enjoyed a $6.3 million Friday after expanding into 2,507 theaters. The buzzy awards contender and critical darling starring Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, and Jennifer Lawrence is on track to earn around $19 million this weekend. The fact that the R-rated drama (or, comedy according to the Golden Globes) is the first truly adult film to open wide this December could also factor into its earnings potential this weekend.

In its fourth Friday in theaters, Disney’s animated musical Frozen earned an estimated $5.1 million, bringing its domestic total to $177.5 million. As Grady Smith predicted, Frozen looks to be on track for a 25-30% drop across the weekend.

Rounding out the top five is another Disney pic — Saving Mr. Banks  which brought in $2.96 million Friday from 2,110 theaters. The PG-13 rated tale of how Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) got reluctant author P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) to allow them to adapt Mary Poppins into a film opened in 15 theaters last weekend. In addition to providing a family friendly alternative to Frozen, Saving Mr. Banks is also a solid awards contender, which should bode well enough for the glossy pic across the weekend and the holiday. The $35 million drama is on track for a $9 million weekend — a bit lower than we predicted Thursday.

1. Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues – $8.7 million
2. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – $8.61 million
3. American Hustle – $6.3 million
4. Frozen – $5.12 million
5. Saving Mr. Banks – $2.96 million

Outside of the top five, the action-thriller Dhoom 3 opened to $1.1 million Friday in 236 theaters — the largest first day ever for a Bollywood film, and the first ever to be released in IMAX. Also, Fox’s animated pic Walking With Dinosaurs opened in 2,321 theaters to $2.1 million. It’s unlikely that the 3D pic will cross the $10 million mark across the three-day weekend.

Check in tomorrow for our full weekend box office report.

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