LOS ANGELES, Dec. 15 (Xinhua) -- "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug", the second of three Hobbit films, snatched the first place at North America box office this weekend.
The film debuted a solid start with 73.7 million U.S. dollars at 3,903 theaters in north America, according to studio estimates, delivering the fourth largest opening weekend ever in the month of December, trailing only "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey", "I Am Legend" and "Avatar".
However, it was short of expectations and had a 13 percent decline from 84.62 million dollars debut of last year's "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey". The third and the final Hobbit, " The Hobbit: There and Back Again" arrives on Dec. 17, 2014.
The sequel earned 9.18 million dollars, which is 12.5 percent of its gross, at IMAX theaters this weekend. 3D grosses were up to 49 percent of its total revenue in north America.
Globally, the film was very popular and earned 131.2 million dollars in other regions out of north America, which made up 64 percent of its worldwide gross.
The audience breakdown for the sequel leaned to male moviegoers, about 60 percent, and moviegoers over 25 years old is about 64 percent.
The movie earned an "A-" from first-night moviegoers, according to CinemaScore. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 74 percent "fresh" score.
Disney's "Frozen" was ranked the second this weekend with an estimated of 22.2 million dollars. The 3D animated winter musical fell 30 percent from last weekend and gained a very impressive 164.4 million dollars after 19 days of wide release.
With fewer family options releasing during the rest of the holiday season, "Frozen" should continue to hold up very well going forward.
One other debut this week, "Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas", was third with a soft 16 million dollars at 2,194 locations estimated by Lionsgate Films.
Like "The Desolation of Smaug", this debut received an "A-" rating on CinemaScore. But Rotten Tomatoes only gave it a 20 percent "fresh" score.
The audience go for "A Madea Christmas" skewed towards female moviegoers which took up 67 percent, and towards moviegoers 25 years and older, about 63 percent.
"A Madea Christmas" is prolific filmmaker Tyler Perry's 14th movie in the past eight years. Whether this Christmas film will get good sales with the help of the holiday season still remains to be seen.
Rounding out the 10 most popular films in North America this weekend, as estimated by studios, were "Hunger Games: Catching Fire" (13.2 million dollars), "Thor: The Dark World" (2.7 million), "Out of the Furnace" (2.3 million), "Delivery Man" (1.9 million), "Philomena" (1.8 million), "The Book Thief" (1.7 million) and " Homefront" (1.6 million).