After being beaten mercilessly into submission by the unprecedented Arctic Vortex which swept most of the country, people began to finally leave their homes and lead a normal life - like going to the movies. And what did they want to see?
Evidently they wanted to see the Afghanistan-set war actioner Lone Survivor with Mark Wahlberg. The Universal pickup, which, like Lee Daniels’ The Butler, was independently financed by a large group of private investors, pulled in a very surprising $38 million, way above what most box office predictions for the film, which was pegged for an upper teens to mid-$20 million range.
Universal, which badly needs some good news after the massive box office bust that was 47 Ronin, played it cards right with Survivor, with an aggressive marketing campaign, starting months before the film came out, with a major profile piece on director Peter Berg in the New York Times Sunday Magazine, and opening the film in selected theaters weeks in advance to generate strong word of mouth.
The other major opening, The Legend of Hercules, pretty much faded into the background with just $8.6 million. No doubt that other Hercules movie, starring Dwayne Johnson, which opens in late July, will have a much bigger opening.
In second place was Disney’s Frozen with $15 million, which is showing the strongest box office legs for any film in months. People really love the film, and the word-of-mouth is incredibly strong.
Meanwhile Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones saw a huge 65% drop off from last week, but The Wolf of Wall Street, in third place this week, is doing well and American Hustle has already passed the $100 million domestic mark.