Weekend Predictions: Will Survivor Be Lonely At the Top?

Lone Survivor poster

There is only one truly new wide release this weekend: The Legend of Hercules. This film is earning zero positive reviews and most analysts think it will miss the top five. Fortunately, there are a couple of limited releases expanding wide this weekend that should help compensate. Lone Survivor is the most obviously mainstream hit and it has been doing surprisingly well in limited release. Meanwhile, Her is probably too out there to be a mainstream hit, but its reviews suggest it should at least do well with those looking for Oscar-quality films. This weekend last year was the weekend Zero Dark Thirty expanded wide. It pulled in $24.44 million over the weekend, which is a figure Lone Survivor might match. Unfortunately for 2014, 2013 had much better depth at the box office, so even if the Lone Survivor does get to $25 million or beyond, it still looks like the year will continue lower than last year.

Lone Survivor has earned a SAG nomination for Best Stunts, and more surprisingly, a WGA nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. Its reviews are not as strong as those nominations would suggest. It is the most mainstream of the three wide releases / expansions coming out this week and there are some who think it will top $25 million over the weekend. I think this is a tad bullish, but $22 million over the weekend isn't off the mark.

If you are a family, Frozen is still the only game in town and that should help it remain strong over the weekend. The film recently crossed $300 million domestically and should add another $12 million over the weekend to its impressive running tally.

Her has done very well with critics and with Awards Season voters. Now it will see if it can do the same with moviegoers. Unfortunately, it's a movie about a guy who falls in love with a computer A.I., which isn't a mainstream romantic comedy. There's enough buzz to suggest it won't bomb and I think it will earn just under $10 million during its first weekend of wide release. It if can turn some of its Awards Season nominations into wins, then it could have long enough legs to become a solid midlevel hit. If not, it likely didn't cost a lot to make, so it should break even sometime during its home market run.

The Wolf of Wall Street picked up a couple more major nominations recently and that seems to be helping it at the box office. It even reached first place on the daily chart this week. I think it will pull into fourth place with $8 million and if it keeps this up, it could reach $100 million before long.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug should round out the top five just just over $8 million. Maybe. There are two other films that have a real shot at fifth place, including...

The Legend of Hercules is the only true new wide release this week, but that won't really help it at the box office. The film is opening in barely more than 2,000 theaters and with 0% positive reviews so far. (Granted, there are only eleven reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, so it will likely pick up a few positive reviews over the weekend, but not enough to make a real difference). Furthermore, the star, Kellan Lutz, doesn't have a lot of box office success, outside of one franchise. Finally, the director, Renny Harlin, hasn't had a movie crack $100 million domestically since Die Hard 2. That film is almost 25 years old. There is a chance this film will fail to reach the top ten with just over $5 million. I'm not that pessimistic, but I think it will miss the top five with earning sixth place with $8 million, or maybe American Hustle will grab sixth and this film will have to settle for seventh.


- C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2014-01-10