The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is clearly an improvement over the4 first Hobbit movie (read Tony’s review here and Caleb’s review here). However, despite the fact that it is a better movie, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug fell short of the last movie, making 13 percent less than the first movie made. However, despite it falling off from last year’s release, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey did set the December box office record, so beating it was not an easy task, especially with the less than enthusiastic take on Unexpected Journey.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug made an estimated $73.7 million in its opening weekend, the fourth largest December opening of all time. Disney’s fantastic animated movie Frozen (see Shawn’s review here) held on for second place with another $22.2 million. Frozen is on pace for a $250 million take.

Also opening this weekend was Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas, which opened at a low $16 million. That was the third-lowest opening ever for a Tyler Perry movie and the lowest ever for one with Madea in the film.

Here’s the complete weekend box office breakdown:

Weekend Box Office

Position Title Weekend Total
1 The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug $73.6M $73.6M
2 Frozen $22.1 $164.3
3 Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas $16.0 $16.0
4 The Hunger Games: Catching Fire $13.1 $356.9
5 Thor: The Dark World $2.7 $198.1
6 Out of the Furnace $2.3 $9.4
7 Delivery Man $1.8 $27.9
8 Philomena $1.7 $11.0
9 The Book Thief $1.6 $14.8
10 Homefront $1.6 $18.4

Next weekend sees the release of Anchorman: The Legend Continues and Walking with Dinosaurs.

Weekend box office estimates courtesy of Box Office Mojo