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Disney's 'Frozen' freezes out 'Paranormal' spinoff

By JAKE COYLE Associated Press

NEW YORK - On a wintry weekend, Disney's "Frozen" retook the box-office top spot with $20.7 million, freezing out the horror spinoff "Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones."

Paramount's "The Marked Ones" debuted in second place with $18.2 million, a total that includes Thursday night screenings, according to studio estimates Sunday. The film is a stand-alone story spun off from the lucrative, low-budget horror franchise "Paranormal Activity," the fifth of which will be released in October.

But it wasn't able to overcome Disney's animated "Frozen," which has been a hit for family audiences for the last seven weeks. It has now surpassed $600 million worldwide, making it the second highest Disney Animation release, behind "The Lion King." It will soon pass that film's $312 million domestic haul, too.

It's extremely rare for a film to lead the box office in its seventh weekend, a feat accomplished by the likes of "Avatar" and, to go further back, "Legends of the Fall." It's rarer still for a film to retake the box-office lead so late in its theatrical run. The last movie to do so was Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" in 2004, according to box-office tracker Rentrak.

Another hold-over, Warner Bros.' "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug," came in third with $16.3 million in its fourth week of release after narrowly topping the busy Christmas weekend box office. Like "Frozen," Peter Jackson's second installment of his "Hobbit" trilogy has benefitted from the lengthy holiday moviegoing season. Its domestic cumulative total is $229.6 million.

The snow and icy temperatures battering the Midwest and Northeast likely tempered the weekend's box-office business.

"Everyone probably suffered a little bit from the weather," said Don Harris, head of domestic distribution for Paramount. "It looked like no matter what movie it was, it was half a million to a $1 million less on Friday and Saturday than you would have been expecting, just based on what the norms were."

"The Marked Ones," made for just $5 million and starring a largely Hispanic cast, was the lone new wide release in the marketplace, as the large batch of late December releases looked to separate themselves from the pack.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Rentrak. Final domestic figures will be released Monday:

1. "Frozen," $20.7 million.

2. "Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones," $18.2 million.

3. "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug," $16.3 million.

4. "The Wolf of Wall Street," $13.4 million.

5. "American Hustle," $13.2 million.

6. "Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues," $11.1 million.

7. "Saving Mr. Banks," $9.1 million.

8. "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," $8.2 million.

9. "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," $7.4 million.

10. "Grudge Match," $5.4 million.

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