LOS ANGELES — Disney’s "Frozen" packed theaters to beat this past weekend’s only new wide-release contender, "Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones," for the inaugural No. 1 box-office ranking of 2014.

LOS ANGELES — Disney’s "Frozen" packed theaters to beat this past weekend’s only new wide-release contender, "Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones," for the inaugural No. 1 box-office ranking of 2014.


"Frozen" nabbed the first place in its seventh weekend of release with an estimated $20.7 million take. With fairly little competition by way of children’s films this holiday season, "Frozen" has recorded a worldwide cumulative gross of more than $600 million (not adjusting for inflation), making it the second-highest-grossing Disney Animation release of all time, behind "The Lion King."


The latest entry in the popular "Paranormal Activity" horror franchise collected an estimated $18.2 million, a lukewarm premiere for a sequel for which some held higher hopes. Sources who saw pre-release audience surveys initially said the low-budget movie could gross $25 million to $30 million during its opening weekend.


"The Marked Ones" did just fine, countered Megan Colligan, Paramount’s president of domestic marketing and distribution, on Sunday. The film has already recouped more than three times its $5 million price tag.


"Tracking always said we were in the mid-teens and that’s where we thought we would be," Colligan said. "I don’t know who had us at $30 million, but it’s not reflective of anything that we had.


"It’s a $5 million movie. It has totally unknown actors, and with this one we weren’t relying on the stable of the previous films’ mythology. It was meant to be fresh and new."


Low-budget horror hit big in 2013. The year’s most exciting triumph was the summertime release of Warner Bros.’ "The Conjuring," which was made for $20 million and went on to become a worldwide sensation, grossing $318 million.


Other winners included "Insidious: Chapter 2" ($161 million worldwide), "Mama" ($146 million worldwide), "Evil Dead" ($98 million worldwide) and "The Purge" ($89 million worldwide).


Each of those films cost between $3 million and $20 million to make.


The allure of supernatural horror films has been particularly strong with Latino audiences. In the "Paranormal Activity" franchise, 11 percent of domestic ticket sales for the original 2007 movie came from Latinos. That number rose to 19 percent for the last sequel.


That’s why "The Marked Ones" ditched the usual "Paranormal" suburban environs for those of a working-class Latino neighborhood in Oxnard, Calif. Haunted houses give way to demonic possession — but the signature found footage stays the same.


Colligan said that demographic information wasn’t yet available but that Paramount believed its bet on the Latino market paid off.


"Our top 25 theaters are in predominantly Hispanic communities," she said. "The Southwest accounted for 16.5 percent of our gross."


Meanwhile, a number of earlier releases continued to register solid numbers.


"The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" landed at No. 3 over the weekend with $16.3 million. Warner Bros.’ Middle-earth epic has a cumulative domestic gross of about $230 million.


"The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" pushed its domestic gross to a staggering $407.5 million, which put it on track to beat the $409 million of the highest-grossing film of 2013, "Iron Man 3."


Martin Scorsese’s lascivious "The Wolf of Wall Street" came in at No. 4 with $13.4 million. Its buzz is growing, however, and it remains a film to watch during awards season.


Also in the Oscars race: "American Hustle" and "Saving Mr. Banks," both of which continued to draw crowds. The former generated $13.2 million for the No. 5 spot, and the latter came in at No. 7 with $9.1 million.