Lone Survivor Wallops Hercules at the Box Office
By John Hamann
January 12, 2014
Going back to Peter Berg for Lone Survivor after directing Battleship and the war movie The Kingdom ($86 million worldwide, $70 million budget) had to be a tough decision for Universal and their production partners. Berg agreed to work for scale on the project, and put up his own money to help get the film financed, along with a string of others. There are 29 producers for Lone Survivor listed at IMDb, with names like Berg, Mark Wahlberg, and writer Akiva Goldsman on the list. Lone Survivor is one of those great stories of moving mountains to get a film into theaters, and having this kind of success is a testament to their will. A similar thing happened with Lee Daniels’ The Butler, where 36 producers (aka fundraisers) are listed. The run for Lone Survivor could be as leggy as The Butler was, as it received an A+ Cinemascore this weekend and has garnered a 72% fresh rating at RottenTomatoes. At this point, I think that Lone Survivor becomes our first $100 million domestic earner for a film released in 2014.
Finishing second is Frozen, as the Disney Animation product is running out of people to show the film to. In its seventh weekend of wide release, Frozen earned $15.1 million, down 23% from its previous frame where it earned $19.6 million. This weekend’s gross makes it the fourth biggest seventh weekend ever, behind only Avatar, Titanic and The Passion of Christ’s $15.5 million, as it sneaked ahead of The Blind Side’s seventh weekend of $11.9 million. With a gross so far of $318.7 million, Frozen also became Disney’s biggest animated film (non-Pixar), as it took down The Lion King’s first run take of $312.9 million. Frozen is now Disney’s seventh biggest film of all time. It has pulled nearly $400 million overseas. The phenomenon will likely wane further next weekend, as the animated The Nut Job goes wide.
Third spot goes to The Wolf of Wall Street, which shows little sign of slowing, especially over a weekend that ends with the Golden Globe ceremonies, where Wolf is nominated for both Picture and Actor. This weekend, its third, the Martin Scorsese film earned $9 million, which means it was down a decent 32% compared to the previous weekend, when it took in $13.2 million. Wolf needed some staying power, as it cost Paramount $100 million to make, and has a gross so far of $78.6 million. With the gross this weekend, The Wolf of Wall Street will at least match its production budget stateside, and hope to earn a profit from overseas grosses.
We have a tie in fourth place between The Legend of Hercules and American Hustle, as the awards-worthy Sony release from director David O. Russell crosses the $100 million mark this weekend. American Hustle, with its star-studded cast, earned another $8.6 million this weekend, off 31% from last weekend. Unlike Wolf of Wall Street, American Hustle was completed for much less, costing the studio only $40 million to produce. With a gross so far of $101.6 million and a strong shot at the seven Golden Globes for which it’s been nominated, Hustle could finish ahead of Wolf of Wall Street in the long run.