Movies tend to open and fade away. Such is the nature of modern box office. But Christmas is the one time of year where that’s not always the case. Which is why — kind of out of nowhere, but it makes perfect sense — Frozen came close to being the number one film of the weekend, and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire now seems like it could cross the four hundred million dollar mark. As for the new films….

Film Weekend Per Screen Total
1 The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug $29,850,000 (-5.3) $7,599 $190,304,000
2 Frozen $28,845,000 (+46.9) $8,649 $248,366,000
3 Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues $20,150,000 (-24.7) $5,746 $83,667,000
4 American Hustle $19,550,000 (+2.3) $7,798 $60,035,000
5 The Wolf of Wall Street $18,510,000
$7,296 $34,302,000
6 Saving Mr. Banks $14,021,000 (+50.0) $6,645 $37,844,000
7 The Secret Life of Walter Mitty $13,000,000 $4,469 $25,595,000
8 The Hunger Games: Catching Fire $10,200,000 (+16.4) $4,406 $391,124,000
9 47 Ronin $9,869,000 $3,670 $20,572,000
10 A Madea Christmas $7,400,000 (-11.7) $4,139 $43,719,000

The question is if next weekend will be as ripe, or if the Monday-Wednesday period will be the high point. It all depends if the holiday attitude continues after the holidays are officially over. But if box office predictions are like meteorology, this is the one time of the year it can rain up.

The Hobbit didn’t fall too hard, and though $250 Million seems like a bridge too far, it could just limp there. Internationally it’s over $600 Million, so this entry will make money, and it was always doomed to be the lowest grossing effort of the bunch. Frozen, wow. It looks like if could just make it to $300 Million, it all depends if the end of the holidays cuts off its legs. But the film is well received and it’s playing strong. Anchorman looked weak when it opened, but the holiday has given it a sweet ride, and so $140 Million or more is possible. American Hustle is playing with crowds, it’s going to get over $100 Million and then some.

As for the new films, The Wolf of Wall Street did decent per screen numbers, which means it’s partly the length, but it’s also the film, which is loaded with rough subject matter. This isn’t a surprise all things, though it could play through much of January. This weekend’s box office  reflected families wanting things they were familiar with, not what Oscar prognosticators or “adults” wanted to see, as even Mr. Banks got a holiday bump. But none of that reflects well on Walter Mitty, which looks like it could be family friendly, and a heartwarming Christmas picture. But audiences didn’t care. Nor did they go for 47 Ronin, or Grudge Match – which placed out of the top ten.

Reality Check: Oy. I didn’t see the Frozen surge coming, and I thought Walter Mitty was a contender.

What did you watch this weekend?