People in Brief for December 31, 2013

  • Posted: Tuesday, December 31, 2013 12:01 a.m.
Martin Freeman (left) and John Callen star in a scene from "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug."

'Hobbit,' 'Frozen' lead box office to record


LOS ANGELES - Over the bustling post-Christmas weekend, Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" continued to lead the box office, landing in the No. 1 slot for the third weekend in a row.

The Warner Bros. prequel earned $30 million, bringing the domestic gross to $190.3 million, according to studio estimates on Sunday.

Disney's animated adventure, "Frozen," took the No. 2 position, earning $28.9 million over the weekend and $248.4 million domestically after six weeks in theaters.

"'Frozen' probably had the best release date of the year because they positioned themselves to completely dominate the family film marketplace over the holidays," said box-office analyst Paul Dergarabedian of Rentrak. "To be No. 2 in its sixth week is a total reflection of that."

Reigning box-office champion "Hobbit," "really contributed to this record box office that we have at the end of the year," he added. "With `Hobbit' and `Frozen,' we are talking $450 million at the box office between those two films alone. They are absolutely killing it here at the end of the year."

This year is poised to be a banner one at the box office, and it is projected to surpass 2012's $10.8 billion by nearly 1 percent, making this the highest annual take ever.

Paramount held two slots in the top five over the weekend, "Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues," starring Will Farrell, and "The Wolf of Wall Street," featuring Leonardo DiCaprio. Sequel "Anchorman 2" came in at No. 3 with $20.2 million, and Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street," took the No. 5 spot, earning $19 million after opening at No. 2 on Christmas Day with $9.15 million.

At No. 4, Sony Pictures corruption saga, "American Hustle," made $19.6 million. David O. Russell's entertaining take on the Abscam investigation of the 1970s, starring Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, has grossed $60 million domestically and gained seven Golden Globe nominations.

Oscar hopeful "Saving Mr. Banks," Disney's making of "Mary Poppins" story, starring Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks, came in at No. 6, making $14.3 million.

Fox's "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," Ben Stiller's dramatic turn took seventh place, earning $13 million.

And despite lackluster reviews, Keanu Reeves' martial-arts film "47 Ronin" managed to slide into the top 10 at No. 9 with $9.9 million in its opening weekend.

Roberts thanks girlfriend after illness


LOS ANGELES - Robin Roberts thanked her longtime girlfriend, Amber Laign, in a year-end post published Sunday on the ABC News anchor's Facebook page.

The message, which follows Roberts' battle with a life-threatening illness, is the first time the "Good Morning America" anchor has publicly acknowledged her 10-year, same-sex relationship with Laign, a massage therapist from the San Francisco Bay Area.

Roberts' post was confirmed by ABC News spokeswoman Heather Riley.

Sunday was the anniversary of Roberts' 100-day milestone following a bone marrow transplant in September 2012 for treatment of myelodysplastic syndrome, a rare blood and bone marrow disease.



Associated Press

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