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Blizzard Box Office Battle: ‘Paranormal,’ ‘Frozen,’ ‘Hobbit’ to Fight for First

'The Marked Ones' is targeted to Hispanic moviegoers

The opening of Paramount’s “Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones” is on a collision course with Disney’s “Frozen” and Warner Bros.’ “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” for the first U.S. box office crown of 2014 — though real snow put a chill on overall grosses.

Trackers are forecasting the trio of titles to finish the frame at about $20 million each, though the Northeast blizzard and a “polar vortex” of sub-zero temps in the Midwest could continue to affect moviegoing throughout the weekend. The fifth “Paranormal Activity” is expected to start with $7 million to $9 million on Friday — including $1.2 million from late Thursday night shows, when frigid conditions held down moviegoing.

Both holdovers are expected to decline by about 35%. “Frozen,” heading into its seventh weekend, led the pack on Wednesday and Thursday and has been showing exceptional holding power among the family demo with a domestic cume of $277 million.

“Smaug” has won the past three weekends, though its margin over “Frozen” in the final 2013 frame was less than $500,000. The Peter Jackson tentpole has cumed $213.4 million in three weeks — or $33 million less than “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” at the same point.

Should “Smaug” take the weekend, it would be the first film to win four weekends in a row since “The Hunger Games” did so in the spring of 2012.

The fifth “Paranormal Activity,” a spinoff with Hispanic characters exploring diabolical phenomena, is the first to open outside the October frame.

Paramount has two other titles that should take in more than $10 million — the third weekend of “Anchorman 2” and the second weekend of “The Wolf of Wall Street”– along with Sony’s fourth weekend of “American Hustle.”

Lionsgate’s “Texas Chainsaw 3D” led the first weekend of 2013 with $21.7 million at the U.S. box office.

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