NEW YORK — On a busy pre-Christmas weekend at the box office, “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” held off a different sequel, “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.”

Peter Jackson’s “Hobbit” sequel took in $31.5 million in its second weekend of release for Warner Bros., according to studio estimates Sunday. Though the film isn’t matching the pace of the first “Hobbit” movie, “An Unexpected Journey,” “The Desolation of Smaug” is doing well abroad. It’s now made more than $400 million worldwide.

The “Hobbit” topped Will Ferrell’s “Anchorman” sequel, which nevertheless opened strongly in second place. The Paramount Pictures comedy made $26.8 million over the three-day weekend and $40 million since opening Tuesday.

The much-marketed “Anchorman 2” actually outperformed “The Hobbit” on Friday, but failed to best it over Saturday and Sunday. But the $50 million comedy, which Paramount initially turned down, made $13.4 million in six international markets.

David O. Russell’s fictionalization of the 1970s Abscam investigation “American Hustle” earned a robust $19.1 million in its first week of nationwide expansion. The Sony Pictures film, starring Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence, got a boost from its seven Golden Globes nominations.

The crowded field of movie openings Wednesday includes Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street,” Ben Stiller’s “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” and the Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone comedy “Grudge Match.”