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Frozen freezes out Paranormal spinoff

Disney’s Frozen is poised to surpass The Lion King’s box-office record.
By Jake Coyle
AP Agency Film Writer

Disney animation film soars at box office on a record-breaking path

Disney’s Frozen retook the box-office top spot with US$20.7 million, freezing out the horror spin-off Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones.

Paramount’s The Marked Ones debuted in second place with US$18.2 million, a total that includes Thursday night screenings, according to studio estimates yesterday. The film is a stand-alone story spun off from the lucrative, low-budget horror franchise Paranormal Activity, the fifth of which will be released in October.

But it wasn’t able to overcome Disney’s animated Frozen, which has been a hit for family audiences for the last seven weeks. It has now surpassed US$600 million worldwide, making it the second highest Disney Animation release, behind The Lion King. It will soon pass that film’s US$312 million domestic haul, too.

It’s extremely rare for a film to lead the box office in its seventh weekend, a feat accomplished by the likes of Avatar and, to go further back, Legends of the Fall. It’s rarer still for a film to retake the box-office lead so late in its theatrical run. The last movie to do so was Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ in 2004, according to box-office tracker Rentrak.

Another hold-over, Warner Bros.’ The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, came in third with US$16.3 million in its fourth week of release after narrowly topping the busy Christmas weekend box office. Peter Jackson’s second part of his Hobbit trilogy has benefited from the lengthy holiday season. Its domestic cumulative total is US$229.6 million.

The Marked Ones, made for just US$5 million and starring a largely Hispanic cast, was the lone new wide release in the marketplace, as the large batch of late December releases looked to separate themselves from the pack. Successes include Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street (US$63.3 million in two weeks for Paramount), David O. Russell’s acclaimed American Hustle (US$88.7 million in four weeks for Sony) and the Will Ferrell sequel Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, (well past US$100 million domestically in three weeks for Paramount).

Having a harder time finding audiences are 47 Ronin starring Keanu Reeves (a US$175 million bomb for Universal earning US$32.6 million in two weeks), the Robert De Niro-Sylvester Stallone boxing comedy Grudge Match (US$24.9 million in two weeks for Warner Bros.) and Ben Stiller’s The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (US$45.7 million in two weeks for 20th Century Fox). “It’s like traffic on the freeway,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for Rentrak. “At this level of competition, there are always going to be casualties.”

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