OPENED THIS WEEKEND: The Legend of Hercules (LGF/SUMMIT) opens wide, anemic. Lone Survivor (UNI) expands wide to dominate weekend $37.8M. Her (WB) expands from 47 to 1,729 theaters. NOTEWORTHY: American Hustle (SONY) crossed $100M, August: Osage County (TWC) on 905 screens, very solid. Her (WB) holding. Philomena (TWC) drops only 4% going into awards season.

Box Office Results Lone Survivor HerculesUPDATE, MONDAY, 1:15 PM: With final box office numbers, comes some surprises today. Lone Survivor ended up with $37.8M, so Universal Pictures estimated too high (as did Paramount Pictures on The Wolf Of Wall Street – both distribs always seem to estimate high). But Lone Survivor still was stellar over the three-day frame.  The Legend Of Hercules rose to third place, edging out Wolf, which took the No. 4 spot after Sunday numbers came in. Universal distrib execs called that one. American Hustle followed in the fifth spot and also estimated too high (was $8.6M) — it came in at $8.3M to change its final ranking. Still, it crossed the $100M mark. The Golden Globes did have a slight impact on the box office numbers. The Top 20 chart has been updated with real numbers reported by the studio to Rentrak:

1). Lone Survivor, (UNI) 2,876 theaters (+2,873) / 3-day Cume: $37.8M/ Per screen average: $13,165 / Total Cume: $38.2M / Wk 3

2) Frozen, (DIS) 3,329 theaters (-79) / 3-day Cume: $14.7M (-25%) / Per screen: $4, 547 / Total Cume: $317.3M / Wk 8

3). The Legend Of Hercules, (LGF/SUMMIT) 2,104 theaters / 3-day Cume: $8.86M / Per screen: $4,215 / Wk 1

4). The Wolf Of Wall Street, (PAR) 2,521 theaters (-36) / 3-day Cume: $8.83 (-33%) / Per screen: $3,506 / Total Cume: $78.4M / Wk 3

5). American Hustle, (SONY) 2,629 theaters (+111) / 3-day Cume: $8.3M / Per screen: $3,158 / Total Cume: $101.2M / Wk 5

6). The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug, (WB)  3,075 theaters (-655) / $3-day Cume: $8M (-49%) / Per screen: $2,609 / Total Cume: $242.2M / Wk 5

7). August: Osage County, (TWC) 905 theaters (+900) / 3-day Cume: $7.1M / Per screen: $7,910 / Total Cume: $7.7M / Wk 3

8). Saving Mr. Banks, (DIS) 2,671 theaters (+561) / 3-day Cume: $6.5M (-25%) / Per screen: $2,455 / Total Cume: 68.9M / Wk 5

9). Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, (PAR) 2,883 theaters (+16) / 3-day Cume: $6.3M (-65%)/ Per screen: $2,180 / Total Cume: $28.4 (-66%) / Wk 2

10). Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, (PAR) 3,012 theaters (-395) / 3-day Cume: $5.8M (-45%) / Per screen: $2,102 / Total Cume: 118.2M / Wk 4

11). Her, (WB) 1,729 theaters (+1,682) / 3-day Cume: $5.3M / Per screen: $3,092 / Total Cume: $8.7M / Wk 4

12). The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, (LGF) 1,762 theaters (381) / 3-day Cume: $4.3M / Per screen $2,488 / Total Cume: $413.7M

13). The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, (FOX) 2,584 theaters (-338) / 3-day Cume $4.3M (-46%) / Per screen: $1,665 / Total Cume: $52.5M / Wk 3

14). Grudge Match, (WB) 2,005 theaters (-851) / 3-day Cume: $1.9M (-64%) / Per screen: $951 / Total Cume: $28.4M / Wk 3

15). Inside Llewyn Davis, (CBS) 729 theaters (+573) / 3-day Cume: $1.8M (+75) / Per screen: $2,582 / Total Cume: $9.3M / Wk 6

16). 47 Ronin, (UNI) 1,359 theaters (-1331) / 3-day Cume: $1.6M (-67%) / Per screen: $1,210 / Total Cume: $36.4M / Wk 3

17). Walking With Dinosaurs (FOX), 1,339 theaters (-1221) 3-day Cume: 1.4M (62%) / Per screen: $1,050 / Total Cume: $33.7M / Wk 4

18). Philomena, (TWC) 607 theaters (0) / 3-day Cume: $1.3M (-4%) / Per screen: $2,282 / Total Cume: $21.9M / Wk 8

19). Tyler Perry’s A Madea’s Christmas, (LGF) 1,040 theaters (-434) / 3-day Cume: $1M (-63%) / Per screen: $1,049 / Total Cume: $51.8M / Wk 5

20). Nebraska, (Par Vantage) 521 theaters (+281) / 3-day Cume: $885,463 (+43%) / Per screen: $1,700 / Total Cume: $8.2M

UPDATED SUNDAY, 7:48 AM: A dispute has arisen among distributors as to which pictures are No. 4 and 5 this weekend, giving rise to a battle between American Hustle and The Legend of Hercules. However, there is no question who won the war: Lone Survivor with an impressive $38.5M, playing well beyond the industry’s and the studio’s expectations. Rentrak noted that it marks the second biggest Jan. opening ever, only behind Cloverfield which opened at $40M in 2008. Survivor is the story of real-life war heroes Marcus Luttrell and his Navy Seal (Operation Red Wing) brothers whose strength of spirit is well honored as they fight valiantly for their lives against al-Qaeda. Lone Survivor box office“I think the marketing and publicity done by Marcus Luttrell and the team was amazing. He’s a very brave and courageous man. The project came from the heart and everyone worked on it from the heart,” said Nikki Rocco, president of domestic distribution for Universal Pictures. “You wouldn’t have felt the passion of the film if you didn’t have an actor who could pull it off, and Wahlberg did that.” About 13% of Survivor‘s take was from large format screens. Frozen was solid at $15.2M. That was the first tier. After that, the box office positions become murky as it’s a fight for position. August: Osage CountyOne of the stronger players this weekend was August: Osage County ($7.2M), which on 905 screens, did better than pictures on over 2,000 and 3,000 screens ($8,083 per). The pic was scheduled to go much wider, initially, but was wisely tempered. Her, on 1,729 runs, is holding for Warner Bros. ($3,129 per). Philomena impressive as it only dropped 6% weekend to weekend and seems to be gaining steam heading into awards season ($2,241 per). And the folks behind American Hustle can celebrate their $100M bankroll at the Golden Globes tonight. How Globe watching will affect box office is anyone’s guess.

NOTEWORTHY: Philomena is holding very strong and down only 6% this weekend. Also, including two holiday openers are still playing in over 2,000 theaters.

UPDATED SATURDAY, 7 AM: Positions are clearer this morning as are Friday night numbers and estimated 3-day cumes.  August: Osage County  doing very well in its measured rollout. Summit thinks its Hercules will grab the No. 3 box office spot this weekend with $8.5M, others have it at 6th, so Saturday will help tell its tale. The weather in the Midwest last night affected the box office last night but should be better tonight.

UPDATED FRIDAY, 11: 15 PM: Universal‘s war pic Lone Survivor, is the box office hero this weekend as Friday night estimates show the pic on its way to a robust $37M+ 3-day weekend. Lone Survivor box officeIt scored an A+ CinemaScore across all quadrants with both male and female moviegoers and had 51% of ticket sales (according to Fandango) leading into the weekend and will outplay a comparable war picture that employed a similar distribution strategy last year, Zero Dark Thirty. Good news for its producer/star/champion Mark Wahlberg (and partner Steven Levinson), Sarah Aubrey and Randall Emmett, and writer/director Peter Berg who brought real-life hero Marcus Luttrell’s story to the screen. Good news also for Sony and producer Annapurna as American Hustle is expected to cross $100M this weekend. Disney‘s Frozen, with a $3.1M Friday, is a solid No 2. for a $15M to $17M weekend. Newcomer The Legend of Hercules, bows with only $8M estimated despite its B- Cinemascore, and is limping for Lionsgate/Summit which acquired the distribution rights to the Millennium-produced film this past November. The Wolf of Wall StreetKerplunk. The Wolf of Wall Street, (Red Granite International and Paramount) with its 3-hour playing time is third (expect a $78.6M cume on what the studio is claiming is around a $100M budget and then add in hefty marketing and distribution costs minus the exhibitors’ take … will it end up being profitable?). American Hustle, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug rounds out the third tier of players. Par’s Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones is expected to have a frightening 67% drop in its sophomore weekend but looks like a $28.2M cume to date … the pic was made for peanuts (Par claims $5M) so what matters, once again, is profitability. The early estimates chart has been expanded and brought up top.

For more estimates listed by title, see box office results here...
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