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Weekend Box Office: Lone Survivor Melts Frozen's Hold on the Box Office; Hercules Far from Legendary

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By Chris Kavan - 01/12/14 at 11:51 PM CT

After weeks of claiming the box office for its own, families had to take the back seat to the might of the military over the weekend. Meanwhile, it wasn't all good news as Hercules proved to be very mortal indeed and some other films didn't find as much success going from wide to limited release as they would have liked. Still, it was a slight uptick in sales compared to last year and hopefully means that 2014 will continue to improve as time goes by.


Military films tend to under perform at the box office but, for once, things took a twist for the better. Lone Survivor exceeded pretty much all expectations by opening to a massive $38.51 million - the second best January opening behind Cloverfield ($40.1 million). It also earned to distinction of garnering an A+ Cinemascore amongst audiences, who were clearly not put off by the somewhat dark story. It easily topped past January military titles including Zero Dark Thirty ($24.4 million) and Black Hawk Down ($28.6 million). All told, the strong opening of Lone Survivor means the film should top the $100 million mark easily and could go on to become one of the highest-grossing January openings of all time. Far better than I predicted.


The animated hit finally had to settle for second place. The film dropped just 23% however, and still managed to bring in $15.07 million (the fourth best total for any movie in its seventh weekend) and raised its total to $317.66 million. Though it faces direct competition from The Nut Job coming up - it should still have an iron grip on the family crowd (and certainly has a lock on the animated awards) and it will near $375 million before it finally exits theaters.


Martin Scorsese's journey into excess jumped into the top three - it's best showing yet at the box office - and added another $9 million to its total, which now stands at $78.58 million - well on its way to a $100 million plus total. With at least Leonardo DiCaprio getting some Golden Globes love - it looks like the film could get some awards bump. Greed - sex- drugs - excess... ah, the American dream is alive and well and doing well on its own.


Renny Harlin didn't exactly have the comeback he wanted as Legend of Hercules stumbled out of the gate with just $8.6 million.Kellan Lutz just isn't that bankable of a star and this $70 million effort that hoped to be an equal to 300 or even Clash of the Titans, will likely close around just $20 million. Audiences awarded it a weak B- Cinemascore and 3D screens made up 49% of the grosses. This will fade fast in the face of competition.


David O. Russell's latest was in a virtual dead heat with Hercules, taking in an estimated $8.6 million as well. And that's for a film in its fourth week, mind you - and it still managed a drop of just 30.7% - and that also meant the film crossed the $100 million mark ending up with $101.53 million and marking the 33rd film of 2013 to cross the mark. That means 2013 has the most films to cross the $100 million mark on record - and it's not done yet as Wolf of Wall Street and Lone Survivor should both be able to cross that mark as well before they end their runs. With some major awards looking to go in its favor, American Hustle still has some gas left.

Outside the top five: Spike Jonze's take on a futuristic romance between man and operating software didn't have as much success in wide release. Her brought in $5.4 million (11th place) and earned just a B- Cinemascore amongst audiences. This is one of those movies that resonates better with critics and the so-called arthouse crowd than general audiences and isn't likely to make more than around $20 million (if it's lucky).

Doing better in the limited-to-wide release market was August: Osage County. The family dramedy with the likes of Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts and Ewan McGregor (amongst others) brought in a healthy $7.31 million (jumping from 31st to 7th place in the process). If it can retain a decent chunk of its audience, it should have a decent run at the box office.

Next week we have four new films entering the market: The animated film The Nut Job, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (looking to be more Bourne than Jack Reacher), horror film Devil's Due and action/comedy Ride Along (with Kevin Hart and Ice Cube). With Awards season heating up, we'll see how these new films stack up against old favorites.


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Wrote on 01/14/14 at 11:27 AM CT

i wouldn't call it a war movie myself. its closer to zero dark 30 than anything. its more of a story of 4 navy seals trapped and fighting the taliban ,than a war movie in conventional sense. .i thought it was great. , i have to go with wall street as the better movie though

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Wrote on 01/13/14 at 07:56 PM CT

I have to admit Lone Survivor did much better than I would have expected. That being said - this is one I know my dad is going to want to see (he's the war buff) and if this is as good as advertised, it should be a good one.

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Wrote on 01/13/14 at 05:27 PM CT

its nice to see lone survivor at 1. its a great film .
The wold of wall street should be doing so much better

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