"Anchorman 2"

"Anchorman 2" is hoping to break big news this weekend at the box office. (Paramount Pictures)

Turns out Ron Burgundy is kind of a big deal.

Continuing its march toward a strong opening weekend, "Anchorman 2" held onto a slim lead over "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" at the box office. The Will Ferrell-led sequel earned an estimated $8.7 million Friday, adding to its two-day total of $13.2 million earned since opening Wednesday. The film could take in roughly $45 million since opening on Wednesday, a pace that places it roughly on par with the debut for the first film, "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy," which was released in 2004.

The comedy holds a slim lead over second film in the "Hobbit" franchise, which earned an estimated $8.6 million on Friday.

ON LOCATION: Where the cameras roll

Elsewhere, the critically lauded "American Hustle" expanded to wide release this weekend, earning an estimated $6.3 million. The film is considered an awards season favorite with seven Golden Globe nominations, including one for best picture (musical or comedy). It's expected to generate around $18 million in ticket sales through Sunday. 

Also expanding to more theaters is Walt Disney Pictures' "Saving Mr. Banks," which stars Tom Hanks as Walt Disney. The film was expected to trail "American Hustle" at the box office and took in just $2.9 million on Friday, placing it behind Disney's "Frozen," which took in an estimated $5.1 million.

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Twitter: @chrisbarton