'Frozen,' 'Catching Fire' fuel U.S., Canada box office

Reuters

By Lisa Richwine and Chris Michaud

LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK, Dec 8 (Reuters) - Walt Disney Co's animated princess fairy tale "Frozen" heated up moviebox office charts in the United States and Canada, displacingdystopian thriller "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" as thetop-earning film.

"Frozen" sold $31.6 million worth of tickets from Fridaythrough Sunday during its second weekend in theaters to topdomestic 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 $5.3million.

Global sales for "Frozen," a solid holiday season hit,climbed to $190 million through Sunday, Disney said. The 3Dmovie, inspired by "The Snow Queen" fairytale, features thevoice of Kristen Bell as a Scandinavian princess intent onfinding her sister, the Queen, who has the power to freezeanything with a touch and accidentally sets off a long winterthat is destroying their kingdom.

"Catching Fire," the second of the "Hunger Games" films based on novels by Suzanne Collins, brought its global total toa massive $673.4 million, according to distributor Lions GateEntertainment Corp. The movie stars Jennifer Lawrence asheroine Katniss Everdeen, a skilled archer who provides hope foran oppressed society on the edge of rebellion.

Lions Gate noted that the U.S. weather in recent days, withseveral winter storm systems in play, likely had an impact onbox office results.

Third-place film "Out of the Furnace" stars Christian Baleand Casey Affleck as brothers in a working-class Pennsylvaniasteel town. When one of the brothers disappears, the other setsout to find him and enact revenge.

"Out of the Furnace" was distributed by privately heldRelativity Media and cost $22 million to make. Critics weresplit on the film. As of Saturday, the movie scored a 51 percentpositive rating among reviews collected on the Rotten Tomatoeswebsite.

In a statement, Relativity called the "a daring story from arenowned director and an award-winning cast," adding "While wehad hoped it would perform better this weekend, we are all proudof this movie."

Rounding out the charts, Marvel superhero sequel "Thor: TheDark World," which stars Chris Hemsworth as the god of thunder,earned $4.7 million. "Delivery Man," featuring Vince Vaughn as asperm donor who fathers more than 500 children, finished fifth,grossing $3.8 million. Disney distributed "Thor" and "DeliveryMan."

Next weekend, theaters are expected to be busy with fansturning out for "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug," thesecond of three movies based on the fantasy novel by J.R.R.Tolkien. Last year's blockbuster "The Hobbit: An UnexpectedJourney" earned $1 billion at theaters worldwide.

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