'The Hobbit' tops 'Anchorman' sequel at weekend box office

LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK Sun Dec 22, 2013 12:28pm EST

LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK Dec 22 (Reuters) - The dwarves and hobbits of "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" proved too much for the much-publicized sequel "Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues," as the hit fantasy film topped movie charts in the United States and Canada for a second straight week, earning $31.5 million over the weekend.

Kicking off Hollywood's year-end push of high-profile movie releases, the "Anchorman" crew led by Will Ferrell was unable to dethrone last week's winner and took in $26.8 million for the No. 2 spot, according to sales estimates from Rentrak.

"Anchorman" opened on Wednesday following a months-long marketing onslaught and rang up a five-day total of $40 million through Sunday. Ferrell appeared in character seemingly everywhere as the self-important Ron Burgundy, pitching the Dodge Durango in TV commercials, interviewing Peyton Manning for ESPN The Magazine, and co-anchoring a local newscast in Nebraska.

The 3D "Hobbit" sequel stars Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, who leads a band of dwarves on an epic quest that leads to a clash with a fire-breathing dragon named Smaug.

Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom Inc, released "Anchorman 2." Time Warner Inc's Warner Bros. distributed the "Hobbit."

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