Box Office: Lone Survivor Has Strong Weekend, Outmuscles Hercules

Lone Survivor

If it wasn’t already evident, director Peter Berg is more into his element when he is free of studio interference. After having to direct Universal Pictures’ Battleship in order to get Lone Survivor made, here’s the tale of the tape. Berg’s adaptation of a Milton Bradley board game cost over $200 million and made $25 million its opening weekend. Berg’s adaptation of Marcus Luttrell’s memoir about Operation Red Wings cost around $40 million and made $38.5 million. The only similarity is that both films star Taylor Kitsch (well he shares notable billing with Mark Wahlberg in Lone Survivor). Berg didn’t have any studio interference with his war thriller and made the film he wanted to make. It should continue to play strong well into Super Bowl Weekend, while most have likely already forgotten about Battleship.

Lone Survivor‘s $38.5 million weekend in wide release easily made it atop the list, dethroning Disney’s holiday favorite (from Thanksgiving to Christmas and then some) Frozen, which finished with $15 million to bring its domestic haul to $317 million. Outside of these two films and their double digit figures, everything else in the top ten was between $6 and $9 million.

The only other wide release was The Legend of Hercules, and if the putrid critical reviews are any indication the stench was felt by those who paid to see Kellan Lutz as the demigod. Poor Renny Harlin. If only he could make the guilty pleasures we loved to enjoy (hands raised if you are a fan of The Long Kiss Goodnight). The $70 million film opened in fourth place with $8.6 million. Ouch.

Other notable box office happenings: American Hustle made it past $100 million in its fifth weekend of release; August: Osage County expanded from 5 to 905 locations and saw a +5,128.2% increase in attendance. Other Oscar hopeful, Spike Jonze’s Her narrowly missed the top 10 – it finished in 11th place – as Warner Bros. gave it a strong push to 1,700 screens. It finished the weekend with an estimated $5.4 million. Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones looks to be dying a quick box office death as audiences have grown tired of the PA franchise. On the indy release front, expansions of Inside Llewyn Davis and Nebraska allowed the films to finish the weekend with $1.8 million and $820k respectively. Sony Pictures Classics’ The Past and The Invisible Woman are limited to but a handful of screens, but their nominal expansions allowed each to have per-screen averages above five-thousand dollars. That’s better than 8 out of the top 10.

Complete chart of the top 10 below.

1. Lone Survivor (Universal) – $38 million

2. Frozen (Buena Vista) – $15 million ($317 mil.)

3. The Wolf of Wall Street (Paramount) – $9 million ($78.5 mil)

4. The Legend of Hercules (Lionsgate/Summit) – $8.6 million

5. American Hustle (Sony) – $8.6 million ($101.5 mil)

6. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Warner Bros.) – $8 million ($242 mil.)

7. August: Osage County (The Weinstein Co.) – $7.3 million ($7.8 mil.)

8. Saving Mr. Banks (Buena Vista) – $6.5 million ($68.9)

9. Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (Paramount) – $6.3 million ($28.4 mil)

10. Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (Paramount) – $6.1 million ($118.5 mil)

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