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Box office report: 'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug' scorches 'Anchorman 2' opening with $31.5 million

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This just in: Ron Burgundy is no match for a fire-breathing dragon at the box office. Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (CinemaScore: B) beat out The Hobbit sequel on Friday, but updated totals show the Will Ferrell-starrer trailing Peter Jackson’s fantasy pic for the three-day weekend.

In first place, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug fell about 60% and brought in an estimated $31.5 million from 3,903 screens in its second weekend in theaters — spot on with Grady Smith’s prediction. Its domestic take now stands at a healthy $127.5 million. But that total lags behind the first Hobbit film by a significant margin. In 2012, An Unexpected Journey dropped 56.4% in its second weekend, earning nearly $36.9 million and bumping its domestic total to $150 million. That film played in about 200 more theaters and had a stronger opening weekend.

Meanwhile, Paramount’s heavily marketed Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues opened in second place with a weekend estimate of $26.8 million. The PG-13 rated sequel opened in 3,507 locations Wednesday and is expected to net about $40 million for its first five days, much lower than EW’s prediction. The first Anchorman opened in July 2004 to $28.4 million and went on to gross $85.3 million domestically.

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

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.

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