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BOX OFFICE CATCHES FIRE

  

For Hicksflicks.com, Dec. 6, 2013

It's a slow week for new movies, as the season's biggest hits continue to steamroll the box office, led by "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" (PG-13) and Disney's animated "Frozen" (PG), both of which broke box office records for the extended Thanksgiving weekend. "Thor: The Dark World" also did well.

The year's biggest moneymaker so far is "Iron Man 3," with "Despicable Me 2" close behind at No. 2, followed by "Catching Fire" — after only two weeks! And the "Hunger Games" sequel is climbing fast enough that it will no doubt soon steal away the No. 1 spot.

"Man of Steel" is in the No. 4 position, followed closely by "Monsters University," "Gravity," "Fast & Furious 6," "Oz the Great and Powerful," "Star Trek Into Darkness" and "World War Z."

The top three movies have raked in more than $300 million each, and those in the remaining top 10 movies of the year have earned more than $200 million apiece — which means if you hear Hollywood moaning at the end of the year that once again ticket sales have fallen off, just chuckle to yourself.

Four new films did open this week but likely won't be much of a challenge to the blockbusters above.The violent, gritty thriller "Out of the Furnace" (R) stars Christian Bale as an ex-con who sets out to rescue his brother (Casey Affleck) from a local mob (run by Woody Harrelson) in the Rust Belt. Co-stars include Zoe Saldana, Forest Whitaker, Willem Dafoe and Sam Shepard.

Over on the art-house side (exclusively at the Tower Theater) is "The Armstrong Lie" (not rated), a documentary about bicycling champ Lance Armstrong that was begun before his doping scandal, causing the filmmaker to change the trajectory of his story.

And the surprise movies this week are a pair of Christmas films exclusively at unlikely venues.

"Angels Sing" (PG), a family holiday film with Harry Connick Jr. as a history professor disillusioned with Christmas until a mysterious visitor helps him find his way. Co-stars include Connie Britton, Lyle Lovett, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson. It's playing at the Water Gardens Holladay 6 Theaters and goes to DVD next week (Dec. 10).

"A Miracle in Spanish Harlem" (PG), also a family holiday film, this one about a widowed single father becoming involved in a tentative romance even as he's making decisions about his business that he may regret. This one is Latin-themed but in English. It's playing at the Carmike Ritz 15-Hollywood Connection in West Valley City.