Tolkien tops princess power at the multiplex.
Per studio estimates Sunday, Warner Bros. “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” was No. 1 at the weekend box office with $ 73.7 million.
Melting down to the No. 2 position, Disney’s animated tale “Frozen” earned $ 22.2 in its third weekend, bringing its overall domestic ticket total to $ 164.4 million.
Lionsgate’s holiday themed “Tyler Perry’s a Madea Christmas” came in third place with $ 16.2 million, while “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” earned $ 13.2 million for the fourth place slot. To date “Catching Fire” has grossed $ 739.9 million, surpassing the worldwide box office total for “The Hunger Games,” which gained $ 691 million.
Disney’s “Thor: The Dark World” continues to thrive, as it took fifth place with $ 2.7 million, bringing its domestic total to $ 198.1 million.
Top 10 at the Box Office:
1. “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” – $ 73.7 M
2. “Frozen” – $ 22.2 M
3. “Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas” – $ 16 M
4. “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” – $ 13.2 M
5. “Thor: The Dark World” – $ 2.7 M
6. “Out of the Furnace” – $ 2.3 M
7. “Delivery Man” – $ 1.9 M
8. “Philomena” – $ 1.8 M
9. “The Book Thief” – $ 1.7 M
10. “Homefront” – $ 1.6 M
Gallery | The 10 All-Time Best Movie Dragons
- Elliott, ‘Pete’s Dragon’ (1977)
1977’s other, more lovable winged and fire-breathing creature was also animated, but in this Disney musical he is surrounded by a live-action cast, including Mickey Rooney, Shelley Winters, and young Sean Marshall as his fellow title character. Voiced by Charlie Callas, Elliott doesn’t speak any English that we can understand, and he’s often invisible, too — though his damage is not. When he can be seen, he’s bright green with pink hair, and a bit too overweight to fly gracefully. He loves apples and his human friend, whom he protects from a nasty foster family.
- Mushu, ‘Mulan’ (1998)
Walt Disney Studios has long been into dragons, evidenced by the previous entry as well as the 1941 animated short “The Reluctant Dragon” and, more than half a century later, by 1998’s “Mulan.” In the later film the beast is again the best pal of a human character, although calling the little red lizard-like Chinese dragon a beast is hardly fitting. Voiced by Eddie Murphy, Mushu is a well-intentioned, comic-relief sidekick set on protecting the title heroine as she plans to serve in the army disguised as a man. And, despite his size, he manages to help out pretty substantially in the end.
- Dragon, ‘Shrek’ (2001)
Another animated movie in which Eddie Murphy provides the voice of the sidekick. However, in this DreamWorks Animation feature, he plays a donkey (named “Donkey”). The non-speaking dragon (which parodies Disney films, by the way) is his eventual love interest (simply named “Dragon”) but only after an initial introduction where she attempts to kill our main heroes during their rescue of Princess Fiona. In the end, she’s a great ally, showing up just at the right time to eat the villainous Lord Farquaad. And, in “Shrek the Third” she finishes off another bad guy. She really deserves more recognition than she gets.
- Norbert, ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’ (2001)
Not to be confused with another Eddie Murphy character (“Norbit”), the Norwegian Ridgeback who figures into the plot of the first “Harry Potter” movie is an adorable little baby dragon. Hagrid acquired the creature’s egg, which hatches in front of our hero and his friends and immediately shows signs of being too dangerous to keep around as a pet. Eventually, the dragon is sent off to Romania to be cared for more properly, and, unfortunately, we never hear about it again. In the last of the books, however, it’s revealed that Norbert is really a female and has been renamed Norberta.
- Vermithrax Pejorative, ‘Dragonslayer’ (1981)
One of a few great examples outside of “The Hobbit” of a villainous dragon in film, “Dragonslayer” is also a Walt Disney production, yet a live-action one, and therefore it required some groundbreaking special effects to produce the dragon to be slayed, including something called “go motion” animation, which would reign as a technique for more than a decade before CGI took over. Vermithrax is also a female, as indicated in the reveal of her princess-eating babies.
- Quetzalcoatl, ‘Q: The Winged Serpent’ (1982)
If the effects in “Dragonslayer” impressed audiences in 1981, then a year later, this B-movie was all the more laughable. But like many low-budget action flicks, “Q” has its guilty pleasure charms. And where else are you going to see a dragon-like Aztec god taking up residence in the top of New York City’s Chrysler Building? We’re still waiting for the sequel promised by the cliffhanger ending. Come on, Hollywood, where is “Q2”?
- The ‘Eborsisk,’ ‘Willow’ (1988)
Another dragon depicted with stop-motion effects is this two-headed beast, which is really a magically transformed troll. We should therefore exclude its qualification for this list on account of it not technically being a true dragon (Maleficent’s dragon form in “Sleeping Beauty” was disqualified for this reason), but it’s one of the more enjoyable parts of this George Lucas-produced Tolkien knockoff, especially since its name is a mash-up of film critics Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel and its ugly appearance was modeled after director Ron Howard’s brother, Clint.
- Draco, ‘Dragonheart’ (1996)
The movie itself isn’t terrific, but Draco is noteworthy for being an exceptionally rendered CGI creature after all those years of less-realistic-looking stop-motion dragons. And voiced by Sean Connery, he has a very regal appeal, similar to the new version of Smaug. Like many others on this list, this dragon also becomes a sidekick for the hero, and the two unlikely friends use their unbelievable relationship to become medieval con men. Again, it’s not the plots we’re celebrating here.
- Falkor, ‘The Neverending Story’ (1984)
The luckdragon of the 1984 fantasy film, adapted from Michael Ende’s novel, bares little resemblance to either the Western or Eastern ideas of what a “dragon” looks like. While he’s drawn as more of a Chinese dragon type in illustrations on the page, on-screen, Falkor has the appearance of a big white dog with an elongated body. Voiced by Alan Oppenheimer, he’s a friendly, loyal, and playful creature, his traits are rather dog-like, and, by the end of the movie, there isn’t a kid who doesn’t want a luckdragon as a pet.
- Toothless, ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ (2010)
The idea of having a pet dragon was presented to a whole new generation with this DreamWorks Animation movie adapted from the Cressida Cowell children’s books. There are a number of different kinds of dragons here, and most of them are not friendly or cute, but Toothless has a rounded shape and puppy-like behavior that makes him appealing to audiences of all ages. He’s one of the rare Night Fury variety of dragon, and, after awkward young hero Hiccup injures him and then repairs his ability to fly, the creature becomes the human’s best pal.
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