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Box Office: ‘The Hobbit’ Poised to Win Final Weekend of the Year

Peter Jackson title has topped $500 million worldwide

Bilbo Baggins is heading for more U.S. box office glory on the final weekend of 2013 as “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” is projected to score a three-peat, the third of the year.

Friday’s forecasts placed “Desolation of Smaug” with a domestic weekend in the $30 million-$32 million range for Friday-Sunday, which would give the New Line-MGM tentpole $190 million after 17 days in theaters. Foreign grosses have been particularly strong for “Smaug,” with $343.5 million through Thursday, propelling the Peter Jackson title past $500 million worldwide.

If “Smaug” wins the U.S. weekend, it will join Warner’s “Gravity” and Universal’s “Fast and Furious 6” as the only 2013 titles that have managed to win three weekends in a row at the U.S. box office.

With Christmas falling on Wednesday, distributors are receiving the benefit of what’s essentially a five-day weekend, with “Smaug” racking up more than $50 million during that period.

A pair of Paramount titles look likely to compete for the second slot above $20 million Friday-Sunday: “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues,” which has a nine-day cume of $64 million, and Martin Scorsese’s drama “The Wolf of Wall Street,” which has $15.8 million in its first two days as it approaches its first weekend.

Disney’s “Frozen” showed surprising heat in its 35th day with $9.1 million and should continue pulling in the family demo in its sixth weekend. Cume is $219 million.

Sony’s third weekend of “American Hustle” looks likely to wind up in the teens during the weekend after taking in $40 million in its first two weeks as will Fox’s “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” following a two-day launch of $12.6 million.

Universal’s samurai tentpole “47 Ronin” will likely take in $10 million-$12 million for the weekend, finishing the five-day period with around $20 million to $22 million. The studio has taken the unusual step of already writing down the costs of the $175 million movie.

“47 Ronin” racked up a CinemaScore of B+, with males under 18 giving it an A-. Internationally, the film has grossed a total of $12.8 million through Thursday and will be open in 29 markets by Sunday.

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