Weekend Box Office: Lone Survivor Opened A Case Of Butt Whippin

The Peter Berg-directed Lone Survivor took home an estimated $38.5 million in domestic box office this weekend, the second biggest debut for a January release ever, after Cloverfield‘s $40.1 million in 2008. The decision to release a movie in January that was actually good is really paying off! Regardless of what you think about Lone Survivor, it’s as nice to see Peter Berg succeed with what was clearly a passion project for him as it was to see him fail with Battleship. For comparison, Battleship opened lower at $25.5 million, while costing $209m to make, whereas Survivor cost $40m.

Unlike Battleship, which they also distributed, Lone Survivor is set to become a big hit for Universal. Or at least it would be, if they hadn’t passed on financing it.

Universal was originally set to produce “Lone Survivor,” but instead struck a deal for Emmett/Furla Films to finance the movie for close to $50 million. The independent company is thus set to make much of the expected profits, though Universal receives a share of revenue for its distribution services. [WallStreetJournal]

“Nah, good luck, but I think we’re gonna look for another board game thing.” Haha, oops.

Lone Survivor’s audience was 57 percent male and 57 percent were 30 years of age or older. It was marketed as the best war movie since Saving Private Ryan, and audiences seem to agree with that sentiment: according to Universal, it received a rare “A+” CinemaScore across all quadrants. With strong word-of-mouth, look for Lone Survivor to hold well in the coming weeks on its way to a total of at least $110 million. [BoxOfficeMojo]

The movie played well nation-wide but did unusually well in Texas, where Mr. Lutrell is from, said Nikki Rocco, president of domestic distribution for Comcast Corp’s Universal. Its only weak markets, she noted, were in Canada. [WSJ]

Canadians just don’t have the stones for army stuff, that’s why they have ducks and old ladies on their money and we have a guy who killed injuns and shot people for insulting his lady. USA! USA! *shoots pistols in the air*

While Irish Terry Conklin opened a case of butt whippin on the competition, The Legend of Hercules, starring Kellan Lutz, didn’t even crack $10 million, earning $8.6 in a tie with American Hustle for fourth. To quote the trailer, WHERE IS YOUR STRENGTH NOW, HALF GOD!

Elsewhere, Her and Inside Llewyn Davis opened wider, to 1729 and 729 theaters, respectively, with neither doing particularly well – $5.4m for Her and $1.88 for Llewyn Davis. (Two of my favorite movies of this past year, incidentally).

While “Her” performed best in big coastal cities, Weinstein Co. distribution president Erik Lomis noted that “August Osage Count” [$7.3 million] did surprisingly well in Midwestern markets including Columbus, Ohio and Milwaukee, Wis. [WSJ]

Of course Her played to the coasts. We coasties love the idea of being able to f*ck our computers. Not so much out in the sticks. Out there they have sheep and city slickers on rafting trips for that.

Next week, we have Ride Along, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, The Nut Job, and Devil’s Due to look forward to. Neither here nor there, but Kevin Hart: Shadow Recruit would also be an accurate title.

In conclusion, Peter Berg will always be Irish Terry Conklin to me.