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+.

Weekend Box-Office Top Ten for January 10 - January 12, 2014

  1. Lone Survivor was #1 at the box-office
  2. Frozen () - $14.7 million ($317.3m cume)
    From 3,239 theaters ($4,538 avg.) / $150 million budget / 89%
  3. The Legend of Hercules () - $8.86 million
    From 2,104 theaters ($4,211 avg.) / $70 million budget / 3%
  4. The Wolf of Wall Street () - $8.83 million ($78.4m cume)
    From 2,521 theaters ($3,503 avg.) / $100 million budget / 77%
  5. American Hustle () - $8.3 million ($101.2m cume)
    From 2,629 theaters ($3,157 avg.) / $40 million budget / 95%
  6. American Hustle () - $8.3 million ($101.2m cume)
    From 2,629 theaters ($3,157 avg.) / $40 million budget / 93%
  7. American Hustle () - $8.3 million ($101.2m cume)
    From 2,629 theaters ($3,157 avg.) / $40 million budget / 93%
  8. American Hustle () - $8.3 million ($101.2m cume)
    From 2,629 theaters ($3,157 avg.) / $40 million budget / 93%
  9. American Hustle () - $8.3 million ($101.2m cume)
    From 2,629 theaters ($3,157 avg.) / $40 million budget / 93%
  10. American Hustle () - $8.3 million ($101.2m cume)
    From 2,629 theaters ($3,157 avg.) / $40 million budget / 93%
Click here to browse our box-office charts and compare Laremy's predictions


These are the actual weekend results and the weekend's winners are now final.
The reader prediction leaderboard has been updated and can be seen here.

The Legend of Hercules
  1. The Legend of Hercules
  2. ACTUAL: $8.86 million
  3. dam94
    $8.9 million prediction / $0.04 million off
  4. lapcat01
    $8.8 million prediction / $0.06 million off
  5. Citizen Khan
    $8.7 million prediction / $0.16 million off
  6. Liam Fogarty
    $9.05 million prediction / $0.19 million off
  7. Adu
    $9.1 million prediction / $0.24 million off
The Wolf of Wall Street
  1. The Wolf of Wall Street
  2. ACTUAL: $8.83 million
  3. Erik
    $8.85 million prediction / $0.02 million off
  4. maja
    $8.8 million prediction / $0.03 million off
  5. Kessler
    $8.9 million prediction / $0.07 million off
  6. Roger
    $8.9 million prediction / $0.07 million off
  7. crayc30
    $8.95 million prediction / $0.12 million off
  1. Her
  2. ACTUAL: $5.3 million
  3. Rach
    $6.2 million prediction / $0.9 million off
  4. TimmaeXVX
    $6.5 million prediction / $1.2 million off
  5. Alex Thomas
    $6.6 million prediction / $1.3 million off
  6. Bertram J. Krogh
    $6.8 million prediction / $1.5 million off
  7. Ryan Jayden
    $6.85 million prediction / $1.55 million off
Lone Survivor
  1. Lone Survivor
  2. ACTUAL: $37.8 million
  3. GregDinskisk
    $26.66 million prediction / $11.14 million off
  4. Arthur Carlson
    $26.6 million prediction / $11.2 million off
  5. Bryan Baca
    $26.2 million prediction / $11.6 million off
  6. cougarfaster96
    $25.8 million prediction / $12 million off
  7. Bertram J. Krogh
    $25.5 million prediction / $12.3 million off

SCORING: A total number of five (5) readers win for each movie. The reader with the closest prediction on a movie wins five (5) points, second closest wins four (4) points and so on. In the event of a tie, the winner is determined by the reader that posted his/her prediction first.

For a complete look at the rules and regulations on how to compete click the "Rules & Regulations" tab at the top of the page right here.

  • http://letterboxd.com/gman/ G-Man

    Great for Lone Survivor. It actually got an A+ CinemaScore!

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Hudsucker/ Hudsucker

    "Families are clearly still interested in Frozen, which may leave The Nut Job (which looks terrible) out in the cold." Very punny. It's funny how the closest guess for Lone Survivor was 11.8 million dollars off. Glad to see it's doing well, since Peter Berg might not have to return to crap like Hancock and Battleship.

  • http://letterboxd.com/austin/ Austin Gorski

    I'm glad Lone Survivor did as well as it did. Damn good movie. As for next week, I could seeing holding on very well and possibly fighting for the #1 spot with Ride Along. I have a feeling that Jack Ryan will underperform, due to the release of Lone Survivor and the NFL playoffs as well.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Ryguy815/ Ryguy815

    I'm shocked that Lone Survivor made this much.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Winchester/ Winchester

    Clearly, January is the time to open a military story movie.

    I don't think anyone was expecting this big an opening, I believed Universal had originally been forecasting teens as well. $100 million should be well covered with that opening and audience response. Wolf should be able to cross $100 million as well, but unless it's big internationally it's not likely to be a cash cow for Paramount.

    Next weekend it should probably be either 'Jack Ryan' but I wonder if Lone could make a run at a second weekend actually depending on how it drops next weekend. None of the others look as if they would be likely to challenge based on appearances.

  • Bazellis

    Another duck!

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/azjoker1/ azjoker1

    I really hope Her catches on. What a great movie, it's my favorite of the year. Two people I know that it would be such a stupid movie and they both ended up really liking it. I hope it gets more theaters and more people go see it through word of mouth.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Kessler/ Kessler

    Lone Survivor was solid so I've no qualms with it making money. I just wonder what caused so many people to see it.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/TheLastEquivocationofBrist/ TheLastEquivocationofBrist

    I'm sure the military theme helped the box office, but Mark Wahlberg seems to have become a draw too no? I was just thinking the other day that Marky Mark is probably a bigger box office draw than Will Smith these days.

    I've contributed to the grosses of Her and Inside Llewyn Davis this weekend, so Lone Survivor will have to wait a week for me.

  • dan

    Only other story worth mentioning is Hunger Games passing Iron Man3? What about 7.3 million for August:Osage County?? On 900 screens and was not even mentioned in predictions. It left "Her" in the dust...

    • http://www.twitter.com/GregDinskisk GregDinskisk

      So? It's no Her.

  • robotsrule

    I'm not surprised by the big turn out. Americans love the military and war movies, even those like me who have big problems with propaganda. It's a very well made, exciting, and tense film, despite being something of a deification of it's protagonists. I saw the film on opening day at about 4pm and the theater was fairly full with an older than average audience. I also think that instead of being turned off by the intensity of the violence in the film, female viewers might have been drawn to some of the male lead actors. Lastly, there was really nothing new to see this weekend at all. The film was heavily marketed with trailers that featured special commentary from the director and the man the film is based on which I think suggested that this was more important than just an action movie. A similar tact that was taken by Saving Private Ryan which the film is actually compared to in the marketing.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/TheLastEquivocationofBrist/ TheLastEquivocationofBrist

      Nothing new? In my area there was too much new haha. Besides Lone Survivor and Hercules we got Her, Inside Llewyn Davis, and August: Osage County this weekend. I didn't have enough time to see all the ones I wanted to see.

      • robotsrule

        I'm pretty sure we had most of those the week prior here in SF. I actually saw Inside Llewyn Davis in Los Angeles in early December. Also I don't really see Her, Inside, and August being the same audience as Lone Survivor. Lone Survivor must be playing huge in red states and getting it's fair share everywhere else too. It's really the only good mainstream movie this week. Inside and Her I think are only going to be seen by cinephiles, intellectual types, and city dwellers.

  • http://www.twitter.com/GregDinskisk GregDinskisk

    Not shocked at all that Lone Survivor did this well or that Her did so poorly. Honestly, I thought I was way low with my Lone Survivor prediction, but...

    I... crushed it? $11 million off?

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Ian/ Ian

    Anytime a big, well-marketed movie with star power is made for an underserved audience (Middle America in this case), they usually show up in droves. I obviously didn't think it would be that big, but it does have more star power than Zero Dark Thirty or Act of Valor and was much more heavily marketed...I've been seeing the trailer in theatres since early fall.

    This is the first time in five years a non-3D film has won the box office, which is certainly gratifying and maybe, just maybe, a sign of the way things are going in the U.S. / Canada markets. As far as the inflation, while it's significant, it's not as big as it used to be. With the exception of Gravity, pretty much every 3D movie is making the majority of its money in 2D domestically...in the case of animation it's an overwhelming 2D majority. Studios have stopped reporting 3D percentages, unless it's respectable like on Gravity or The Hobbit (which was still only 49%), but all you have to do is see what theatres do with their scheduling to see which format is making the most money. Even opening weekends tend to have more 2D shows (again, unless it's Gravity), and 3D shows drop off quickly on pretty much every movie. So it's definitely inflating grosses, but not as much as it was when it was still a curious fad a few years ago and there were less 3D movies. I think all those movies being in the top ten is more indicative of the fact that pretty much every single major tentpole is now released in 3D. And unfortunately they'll continue to be until international audiences turn on it. But at least domestically people have come to their senses.

    • Matthew Furtkamp

      Working at a theare it is true that we drop 3D shows so fast now. This weekend we only had 2 shows a day in 3D. When Frozen opened we had about 4 shows in 3D, but those never even sold half an auditorium . When the Desolation of Smaug came out the studio told us we had to run a full set of shows and never filled half the auditorium. Audiences are not seeking out 3D and a lot if times do what they can to avoid the 3D showings.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/maja/ maja

    I'm delighted for Lone Survivor; quite an excellent film. Mark Whalberg's stock must be going through the roof right about now - I'm sure the studios will see him as being solely responsible for the success of the film.

  • Josh McLaughlin

    Hey, I got one of the things right (for "Legend of Hercules")! Never thought that would happen!

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Newbourne/ Newbourne

    There's always about 1 or 2 movies every year that we disagree on Brad. This year, it's definitely "Lone Survivor". I thought it was boring and nothing much happened. I think it was a bad call to spoil that Mark was the lone survivor early on. Knowing that all those deaths are coming kinda ruins it, because nothing unexpected ever happens.

    But you'll be happy to know that I checked out HER and wow, it is truly one of the best movies I've ever seen. In fact, I'm flirting with calling it my favorite film of all time. I've watched it twice and can't get enough. It was truly spectacular. It wasn't very high on my cue of Oscar contenders to watch immediately, but once I saw it top your list, I had to checked it out. Thank you for that, it was truly a treat.

  • Laura Harrison

    Her was a really cute romantic movie. I don't believe it was geared to a male audience at all. I think it was geared to Joaquin Phoenix fans. He was gorgeous and amazing in it.