Weekend Box Office: Monster $38.5 Million Opening for ‘Lone Survivor’

Wow, I didn’t see this coming and it’s quite obvious neither did our Box Office Oracle or any one of the 101 readers predicting this weekend’s box office as the highest prediction on our box office board was $26.6 million for Peter Berg‘s Lone Survivor, which ended up with a massive $38.5 million weekend as it expanded into 2,875 theaters and earned an A+ CinemaScore from Friday audiences.

The total is enough for the second largest January opening weekend ever, just behind the $40 million brought in by 2008’s Cloverfield and ahead of the 1997 re-release of Star Wars. Given it’s one of my top ten movies of 2013 I’m happy to see the result. However, my #1 movie of 2013 didn’t fair as well in its expansion.

Spike Jonze‘s Her failed to crack the top ten as it expanded into 1,729 theaters, as it brought in $5.4 million for a $3,129 per theater average. I always assumed the concept would be a tough sell for general audiences and I also think that while it’s a romance, it’s a romance that largely skews toward a male audience.

The weekend’s lone new wide release was Summit’s The Legend of Hercules and it ended up in a tie for fourth place with American Hustle with $8.6 million and given the film’s scathing reviews and the “B-” CinemaScore I’m not expecting it to hang around for too long.

Finishing just above those two was Martin Scorsese‘s The Wolf of Wall Street with $9 million for another small drop from last weekend as it continues to hold on as much as it can. Only problem, the film didn’t make enough money out of the gates and given that $100 million budget it’s unlikely to find a profit in theaters.

Last weekend’s #1 film, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, did what Paranormal Activity films do in their second weekend and dropped 66% to $6.3 million. Still, $28 million domestically so far on a $5 million budget ain’t too shabby, especially with these films doing good biz overseas as well.

The only other story out there worth mentioning is The Hunger Games: Catching Fire has finally eclipsed Iron Man 3 to become the highest grossing domestic release of 2013 with $410.6 million. It should also be taken into consideration it hit that mark without inflated 3-D ticket prices whereas you have to go down all the way to #8 to find another film (Fast & Furious 6) that did not benefit from the 3-D surcharge. In fact, only two of the highest grossing films of 2013 weren’t released in 3-D. Says a little something doesn’t it about those reports of 2013 being the highest grossing year at the domestic box office… doesn’t it?

Next weekend the box office gets a little busier with the release of Devil’s Due, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, Ride Along and The Nut Job, which should make for curious results. Not only will the likes of Jack Ryan and Ride Along compete with the NFL playoffs, but families are clearly still interested in Frozen, which may leave The Nut Job (which looks terrible) out in the cold.

NOTE: The original article said Lone Survivor received an A- CinemaScore when it actually received an A+.

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