Undaunted hobbits trumped princess power at the multiplex.
According to studio estimates on Sunday, Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug was No. 1 at the US box office with $US73.7 million ($A82.62 million), beating last weekend's No.1 film, Disney's animated fable Frozen.
Melting down to the No. 2 position, Frozen earned $US22.2 million in its third weekend, bringing its impressive overall domestic ticket total to nearly $US164.4 million.
Despite its first place position, Hobbit fell short of topping its prequel's debut. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which opened this same weekend last year, gained $US84.6 million.
'Hobbit rules this date and Warner Bros has linked this brand to this time of year very effectively,' said box office analyst Paul Dergarabedian of Rentrak.
The holiday-themed Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas came in third place with $US16.2 million.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, earned $US13.2 million for the fourth place slot. To date Catching Fire has grossed $US739.9 million, surpassing the worldwide box office total for The Hunger Games, which brought in $US691 million.
Disney's super hero sequel, Thor: The Dark World, continues to thrive as it remained in the top five with $US2.7 million, bringing its domestic total to $US198.1 million.
In its second weekend, drama Out of the Furnace, starring Christian Bale and Casey Affleck, dropped to the sixth place position with $US2.3 million after opening in the third place slot.
Comedy Delivery Man, with Vince Vaughn as the lead, dropped in at No.7 in its fourth weekend at the box office with $US1.9 million, bringing its domestic total to $US28 million.
Philomena, starring Judi Dench, who received a best actress Golden Globe Awards nomination for her performance as a nun in search of her son, landed in the No.8 spot with $US1.8 million.
In its sixth weekend at the box office, Fox's Nazi Germany-set The Book Thief, starring Emily Watson, Geoffrey Rush and Sophie Nelisse, held ninth position with $US1.7 million.
Coming in at No.10 was the Jason Statham and James Franco-starring Open Road crime thriller Homefront, which gained $US1.6 million in its third weekend. Its total domestic gross is now $US18.4 million.
Opening in limited release in just six locations, David Russell's con artist tale, American Hustle, scored $US690,000 over the weekend. This aces the success of his Oscar-winning film Silver Linings Playbook, which saw $US27,687 during its opening weekend in December last year.
American Hustle, featuring stellar performances by Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence, has been nominated for seven Golden Globe Awards and two Screen Actors Guild nominations.