Lone Survivor Kills Record

Post-9/11 War Movie Box Office Beatdown

January 13, 2014 by

After a limited release playing in just two theaters for two weeks, Lone Survivor expanded to a wide release to capture the top spot at the domestic box office over the weekend. Assisted by an unconventional marketing campaign that attracted moviegoers despite the giveaway title, the biographical film’s wide opening of $38.2 million set the record for highest major debut for any war film since 9/11 and nearly took down Cloverfield ($40.1 million) for highest January opening ever. Lone Survivor’s impressive initial haul was much higher than that of director Peter Berg’s previous movie, Battleship ($25.5 million), which bombed stateside even though it had a summer release date and a big budget that was over five times that of Lone Survivor’s reported $40 million.

The reigning champ and winner of 2014’s first weekend, Frozen, dropped to the runner-up position as it continued its remarkable run after almost two months. Last night’s Golden Globe win for Best Animated Feature Film will only further fuel Disney’s hit 3D computer-animated musical, and it’s basically guaranteed at least an Oscar nomination this Thursday.

With an anything-but-legendary third-place debut was 3D action epic The Legend of Hercules, whose $8.9 million opening edged out Martin Scorsese’s provocative true story The Wolf of Wall Street’s third weekend take as Leonardo DiCaprio added another Golden Globe win for his starring role. Reportedly costing $70 million to produce, the first of two Hercules movies this year is officially a huge bomb. Not too far behind and holding onto fifth place was awards contender American Hustle in its fifth weekend. Last night, the David O. Russell dramedy won one of the Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture and one each for Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence.

Here are the numbers for the top five over the weekend via BOM:

Lone Survivor — Weekend Gross: $37.8 million — Total Gross: $38.2 million (#38 last week)
Frozen — Weekend Gross: $14.7 million — Total Gross: $317.3 million (#1 last week)
The Legend of Hercules — Weekend Gross: $8.9 million — Total Gross: $8.9 million (new)
The Wolf of Wall Street — Weekend Gross: $8.8 million — Total Gross: $78.4 million (#4 last week)
American Hustle — Weekend Gross: $8.3 million — Total Gross: $101.3 million (#5 last week)