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'The Hobbit: Desolation of the Smaug' is easy choice

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As the end of the year approaches, all eyes are now on the major awards Hollywood hands out but there is still box office cash to be had.

There are still some big films set to open under the wire as well. With the new year comes those awards and new releases take a back seat for a while.

Plus, the box office is seeking another yearly domestic record. That hinges on those year-end releases, which includes this weekend's "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug." While not being discussed in any awards news these days, Peter Jackson and his Hobbits will set the box office on fire. His awards were all lumped together with "The Lord of The Rings: Return of the King." The film will not need that kind of help to do well. It just will. The legion of fans will follow the Hobbits through the turnstiles.

"American Hustle" and "Saving Mr. Banks" slowly enter the picture this weekend, as does Paul Walker's "Hours." Now, sentiment and emotion can ride a wave, but in the end, "Hours" is a B-movie with a fine performance, and there is nothing wrong with that. To make it out as something more is not the way to go. Tyler Perry's "A Madea Christmas" really needs no explanation as his fans know what to expect and he serves it up just in time for the holiday.

Weekend
1. "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug"- 3,903 theaters
2. "A Madea Christmas" - 2,194 theaters
3. "Saving Mr. Banks" - 15 theaters
4. "American Hustle" - 6 theaters

"Saving Mr. Banks" could be a reminder of Hollywood in a different time and serves up that goofy charm at the same time. "American Hustle" takes movie-goers back to the nostalgia of the 1970s, like it or not. Thank David O. Russell for creating a film that brings out the best in its cast. When one mentions the cast, one must name them. They are Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Jennifer Lawrence and Louis C.K.

A film that is taking shape perfectly for an award season run, "American Hustle" is a polar opposite to the brutal and unflinching slave drama "12 Years a Slave." That film is as painful as one might think, so having the other one in the same discussion means the year in movies was diverse, and the awards may be spread around.

A quick turnaround has "Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues" opening Dec. 18

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