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January 12, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Despite overwhelmingly positive reviews and much praise for Universal’s marketing efforts on its behalf, few box-office pundits thought that Lone Survivor would earn much more than $20 million this weekend. The studio itself forecast that it would come in at around $15-20 million. After all, it had already been playing in the nation’s two largest cities, New York and Los Angeles, for two weeks, and there was the universal industry recognition that movies about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have mostly bombed. But then on Friday, the film opened with $14.4 million in ticket sales — and a rare A+ Comscore, assuring it of strong word-of-mouth — followed by an additional $14.5 million on Saturday. Studio execs now expect the film to add $9.6 million today (Sunday), which would give the film a weekend total of $38.5 million, roughly twice what had been predicted. That would make it the second-highest-grossing January opening in history, behind only 2008’s Cloverfield. Coming in second was Frozen, now in its seventh week, with an estimated $15 million. There was a bunch-up for third place, with The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Wolf of Wall Street, American Hustle, and newcomer Hercules each earning around $8-9 million. The expanding August: Osage County likely wound up in seventh place with around $7.3 million, followed by Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks at $6.6 million, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones at $6.3 million, Anchorman 2 The Legend Continues at $6.1 million and Her at $5.4 million.

The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Rentrak:

1. Lone Survivor, $38.5 million; 2. Frozen, $15 million; 3. The Wolf of Wall Street, $9 million; 4. The Legend of Hercules, $8.6 million; 4. (Tie) American Hustle, $8.6 million; 5. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, $8 million; 6. August: Osage County, $7.3 million; 7. Saving Mr. Banks, $6.6 million; 8. Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, $6.3 million; 9. Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, $6.1 million; 10. Her, $5.4 million.