January 11, 2014

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: “Lone Survivor” Wins A Medal


So much for tracking.  Defying all expectations, LONE SURVIVOR (Universal) is romping with what might be called the Duck Dynasty audience that goes underreported in pre-opening surveys, and according to preliminary numbers at Deadline, its Friday may be as high as $14M, which could give it a $35M+ weekend.  Peter Berg’s film only cost $40M to produce, so it’s well on its way to profit, and it will definitely open bigger than the $25M for Berg’s $200M flop Battleship.  Word of mouth should be strong, so although it faces some direct competition next week from Paramount’s Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, it has an excellent chance of getting over $100M.

What was supposed to be a neck-and-neck race between Lone Survivor and FROZEN (Disney) has turned out not to be close, with Frozen solidly in 2d place with a $3M Friday (down over 50% from last Friday, which still had some kids on holiday break) that should give it a $10M+ weekend.  THE LEGEND OF HERCULES (Summit/Lionsgate), the only new arrival of the weekend, also had a $3M Friday, but will run out of steam much faster and may not get beyond $7-8M for the weekend, a January flop by any estimation.

THE WOLF OF WALL STREET (Paramount) and AMERICAN HUSTLE (Sony) continue to be closely packed together, both with Fridays around $2.5M (down about 40% from last week) and expecting $8-9M weekends, but Hustle has the advantage of an extra week in the market, so it has a total over $20M higher than Wolf‘s.  Hustle should go over $100M this weekend.  THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG (Warners/MGM) is a notch behind them, with $2M on Friday (down about 60%) and perhaps $7.5M for the weekend.

Lone Survivor is just one of the holiday limited releases to go wide in the weekend before Oscar nominations are announced.  At the top of the rest is AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY (Weinstein), performing nicely at just 905 theatres with $2.5M on Friday and a possible $8M weekend.  HER (Warners), sadly, couldn’t keep up with that at 1729 theatres, considerably slower on a per-theatre basis with $1.7M on Friday and a potential $5-6M weekend.

SAVING MR. BANKS (Disney), ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES (Paramount) and last week’s PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE MARKED ONES (Paramount) were all bunched at $2M on Friday, although widely differing drops brought them there, as Banks declined 33%, Anchorman by about 50%, and Marked Ones plunged more than 75% (par for the course for low-budget horror).  Their weekends should be $5-6M.



About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."