Box Office Results: Universal’s Lone Survivor Dominates Over All

The ComingSoon.net Box Office Report has been updated with studio estimates for the weekend. Click here for the full box office estimates of the top 12 films and then check back on Monday for the final figures based on actual box office.

With lots of movies already in theaters and a number of limited releases expanding, we were given another rare case of a mainstream movie that was released in December for awards but had enough mainstream appeal to really explode at the box office. First, we had the likes of Ridley Scott’s Black Hawk Down and Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino, followed by Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty last year.

Joining that group in a big way was Peter Berg’s military drama Lone Survivor (Universal), starring Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster and Eric Bana, as it way exceeded all expectations by bringing in an estimated $38.5 million over its first weekend in wide release. With a reported budget of $40 million, that’s a great showing for a movie that took Berg many years to get made.

Putting the film’s success into further perspective, that’s $13 million more than the opening gross of the last Peter Berg-Taylor Kitsch collaboration, 2012′s Battleship, which went on to gross $65.2 million, though that was based on a $209 million production budget vs. the $40 million reported to make Lone Survivor. The military drama averaged $13,395 in its 2,875 North American theaters and that opening will certainly put it amongst the top openers for the month. In fact, according to those estimates, its the #2 January opening behind the found footage monster movie Cloverfield.

Disney’s animated hit Frozen continues its run to becoming one of the studio’s biggest blockbusters, adding another $15.1 million as it dropped back down to second place but only with a 23% knock-off from lsat weekend. On top of that, Frozen passed the $300 million mark to become the seventh-highest grossing animated movie ever and the fourth-highest grossing movie of 2013, behind Universal’s Despicable Me 2. It has surpassed the $258.4 million grossed by Disney•Pixar’s Monsters University making it Disney’s biggest in-house hit of the year. Globally, the animated musical has grossed over $700 million, making it the fourth-highest grossing non-sequel animated film for Disney in terms of worldwide gross.

Everything else grossed $9 million or less and it looks like we’re due for a photo finish between a couple of movies whose estimated weekend grosses make their placement too close to call. It seems like Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street (Paramount), starring Leonardo DiCaprio, was able to pick up enough business to move back up to third place with $9 million, bringing its total to $79 million.

Fourth place may be too close to call, but it looks to fall between two movies, David O. Russell’s awards-nominated crime-comedy American Hustle (Sony), which took in an estimated $8.6 million in its fourth weekend of wide release. It officially crossed the $100 million mark this weekend, making it Russell’s second movie in a row to do so following last year’s Silver Linings Playbook, which also starred Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper.

Kellan Lutz from “The Twilight Saga” starred in the one brand-new movie of the weekend, the Renny Harlin-directed mythological epic The Legend of Hercules (Summit), which went into the weekend with horrendous reviews but still managed to eke out $8.6 million in 2,104 theaters. This being the first of two Hercules movies released this year as well as the first “swords and sandals” movie of the year, we’ll have to see how the others fare or if the film’s moderate showing (with roughly $4 thousand per screen) is a bad omen of things to come.

Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug dropped down to 6th place from third (off 48% from last weekend) with $8 million as it brought its domestic cume up to $242 million.

Tracy Letts’ adaptation of his own prize-winning play August: Osage County, starring Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts and an impressive cast of previous Oscar winners and nominees, expanded into 905 theaters and actually did better than expected, averaging $8 thousand per venue for a $7.3 million weekend take.

John Lee Hancock’s upbeat history lesson Saving Mr. Banks, starring Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks, was the other Disney movie this weekend that barely dropped off from last week, down just 23% to take eighth place with $6.6 million. It has grossed $68.9 million based on a $35 million production budget which should definitely make the Mouse House happy.

After missing out on making #1 last weekend, the horror spin-off Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones took a 66% plunge to bring in just $6.3 million its second weekend for ninth place and $28.5 million total.

Will Ferrell and Adam McKay’s Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues rounded out the Top 10 with an estimated $6.1 million and a total domestic gross of $118.5 million since opening last month. It’s doing fairy well based on its $50 million production budget even though there were questions about whether a sequel was warranted and could be cost-effective.

Spike Jonze’s Her (Warner Bros.), a romance co-starring Joaquin Phoenix and the voice of Scarlett Johansson, expanded nationwide into 1729 theaters, but that wasn’t enough to get it into the Top 10, settling for 11th place with $5.4 million or $1700 per venue. It’s grossed $8.8 million including the $3.3 million it’s grossed in limited release.

Likewise, CBS Films expanded the Coen Brothers’ folk music drama Inside Llewyn Davis, starring Oscar Isaac and John Goodman, into 729 theaters but only added another $1.9 million or roughly $2.5 thousand per venue. It has grossed $9.2 million to date.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Lionsgate) took in $4.5 million and Ben Stiller’s take on The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (20th Century Fox) brought in $4.4 million, neither enough to retain a spot in the Top 10. On the other hand, The Hunger Games passed the $400 million milestone this week, bringing in a total gross of $414 million, which was enough to send it past Marvel/Disney’s Iron Man 3 to make it the highest-grossing movie of 2013.

The Top 10 grossed $114 million which was on par with last year when Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty topped the box office with $24.4 million, followed by the horror spoof comedy A Haunted House with $18 million and the Josh Brolin-Ryan Gosling gangster flick Gangster Squad with $17 million.

Click here for the full box office estimates of the top 12 films.

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