Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES -- Martin Scorsese’s Wall Street-gone-wild epic, "The Wolf of Wall Street," was not the leader of the box-office pack this weekend.
The alpha film was "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug," which topped the charts for the third consecutive week. The second part of Warner Bros. ‘ "Hobbit" trilogy based on the books by J.R.R. Tolkien racked up $29.9 million over three days, while Paramount’s "Wolf," which cost $100 million to make, brought in $18.5 million.
The latter had been expected to challenge "Smaug" for the top spot. Instead it came in at No. 5. Disney’s animated family-pleaser "Frozen" finished second, pulling in a cool $28.8 million and bringing its total gross over nearly six weeks to an impressive $248 million. Paramount’s Will Ferrell comedy "Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues" rallied after a lukewarm start last weekend to finish at No. 3 with $20.2 million. The David O. Russell-directed Oscar contender "American Hustle" finished fourth, taking in a solid $19.6 million for Sony in its second week of wide release.
"Wolf," which stars Leonardo DiCaprio as a crooked New York stockbroker, received a dismal, and surprising, grade of "C" by audiences, according to CinemaScore, which tracks moviegoers’ reactions on opening night. But critical reception has been warm and the film has been buoyed by two Golden Globe nominations, for best picture (musical or comedy) and lead actor.
The film, which opened on Christmas, made $34.3 million over its first five days of release, which was a touch more than Paramount estimated.
The performance of Universal Pictures’ "47 Ronin," which stars Keanu Reeves as a revenge-minded samurai among a mostly Japanese cast, left much to be desired. That film, which cost an estimated $175 million to make and has been lambasted by critics, scared up just $9.9 million for the No. 9 spot.
Another big-budget release that struggled was 20th Century Fox’s long-awaited comedy "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," directed by and starring Ben Stiller. It cost $91 million but made only $13 million to claim the No. 7 spot.
With awards season already underway, word of mouth is heating up for Disney’s "Saving Mr. Banks," which tells the story of how "Mary Poppins" came to be. It earned $14 million to place just above "Walter Mitty."