By Lisa Richwine and Chris Michaud
LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK, Dec 8 (Reuters) - Walt Disney Co’s animated princess fairy tale “Frozen” heated up movie box office charts in the United States and Canada, displacing dystopian thriller “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” as the top-earning film.
“Frozen” sold $31.6 million worth of tickets from Friday through Sunday during its second weekend in theaters to top domestic movie charts, while “Catching Fire” earned $27 million, according to studio estimates from Rentrak.
The weekend’s only new nationwide release, crime thriller “Out of the Furnace,” took a distant third place with $5.3 million.
Global sales for “Frozen,” a solid holiday season hit, climbed to $190 million through Sunday, Disney said. The 3D movie, inspired by “The Snow Queen” fairytale, features the voice of Kristen Bell as a Scandinavian princess intent on finding her sister, the Queen, who has the power to freeze anything with a touch and accidentally sets off a long winter that is destroying their kingdom.
“Catching Fire,” the second of the “Hunger Games” films based on novels by Suzanne Collins, brought its global total to a massive $673.4 million, according to distributor Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. The movie stars Jennifer Lawrence as heroine Katniss Everdeen, a skilled archer who provides hope for an oppressed society on the edge of rebellion.
Lions Gate noted that the U.S. weather in recent days, with several winter storm systems in play, likely had an impact on box office results.
Third-place film “Out of the Furnace” stars Christian Bale and Casey Affleck as brothers in a working-class Pennsylvania steel town. When one of the brothers disappears, the other sets out to find him and enact revenge.
“Out of the Furnace” was distributed by privately held Relativity Media and cost $22 million to make. Critics were split on the film. As of Saturday, the movie scored a 51 percent positive rating among reviews collected on the Rotten Tomatoes website.
In a statement, Relativity called the “a daring story from a renowned director and an award-winning cast,” adding “While we had hoped it would perform better this weekend, we are all proud of this movie.”
Rounding out the charts, Marvel superhero sequel “Thor: The Dark World,” which stars Chris Hemsworth as the god of thunder, earned $4.7 million. “Delivery Man,” featuring Vince Vaughn as a sperm donor who fathers more than 500 children, finished fifth, grossing $3.8 million. Disney distributed “Thor” and “Delivery Man.”
Next weekend, theaters are expected to be busy with fans turning out for “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” the second of three movies based on the fantasy novel by J.R.R. Tolkien. Last year’s blockbuster “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” earned $1 billion at theaters worldwide.