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Los Angeles (AFP) – The latest installment of the Tolkien series, “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” retained the top spot at the North American box office this weekend, according to industry estimates Sunday.

The second part of The Hobbit film trilogy, starring Ian McKellen and Martin Freeman, earned $31.5 million on its second weekend, according to box office tracker Exhibitor Relations.

The series, directed by Peter Jackson, follows his other mega-hit trilogy adapted from J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings.”

In close second, debuting with $26.8 million in ticket sales, was “Anchorman 2,” the sequel to the popular Will Ferrell comedy about screwball newsman Ron Burgundy.

Slipping to third was Disney animated musical “Frozen,” with a $19.2 million take.

The 53rd movie in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series, which began with “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” in 1937, “Frozen” is loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairytale “The Snow Queen.”

Comedy “American Hustle” — starring Christian Bale and Amy Adams as a hustler couple, and Bradley Cooper as the FBI agent they team up with to bring down other con artists — rose to fourth place on the film’s first week on national release.

The movie, which has been nominated for seven Golden Globes, raked in $19.1 million.

In fifth place with $9.3 million was “Saving Mr. Banks,” about Walt Disney’s quest to make a film adaptation of “Mary Poppins.” Its stars — Tom Hanks as Disney and Emma Thompson as Poppins’ anti-Hollywood author — have both been nominated for Golden Globes.

Falling to sixth spot, the latest installment of the blockbuster “Hunger Games” franchise earned $8.8 million, taking its overall earnings since its record opening five weeks ago to $371 million in North America alone.

In seventh, with $8.5 million, was “A Madea Christmas,” directed by and starring Tyler Perry in his recurring role as Madea, chronicling yet another adventure in the life of the tough, old woman.

“Walking with Dinosaurs,” an animated tale that brings viewers into the paleozoic era, opened in eighth place, with $7.3 million, while another new release, Bollywood blockbuster “Dhoom 3” took ninth, with $3.3 million, despite being shown in only 236 theaters.

Rounding out the top 10 was superhero flick “Thor: The Dark World,” the latest movie based on Marvel’s iconic comic book character, which took in $1.3 million.

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