By Bill Wine

By Bill Wine

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A new sequel from director Peter Jackson claimed the top spot at the box office.

The Middle Earth fantasy-adventure, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, was the runaway winner on its debut weekend, earning an estimated $74-million.

The holdover animated attraction, Frozen, last weekend’s leader, dropped to second place with $22-million.

Third went to the new holiday comedy, Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas, which took in $16-million.

And the hit sci-fi sequel, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, claimed fourth with $13-million.

Overall, box office was up over that of a year ago and should be jumping next weekend as three high-profile offerings — Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, Saving Mr. Banks, and American Hustle — join the holiday fray.

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