Box Office Preview: Wahlberg’s “Lone Survivor” Attacks Weak January Frame

"Lone Survivor" (Box Office Preview)

by Matt Marshall

This month is like every January previous to it. As expected, there continues to be a healthy mix of potential Oscar hopefuls expanding into more theaters. But then there’s also new releases that are surefire critical and financial busts.

With last weekend’s Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones far in the rear-view mirror, Lone Survivor, Her and The Legend of Hercules attempt to crack the Top 5 this coming weekend.

Out of this weekend’s two expansions and one newcomer, Lone Survivor, starring Mark Wahlberg, stands the best chance of dethroning Disney’s Frozen. Lone Survivor is based on a true story taking place during the War in Afghanistan. Wahlberg portrays SO2 officer Marcus Luttrell during a failed mission to capture a Taliban leader. 

Survivor enters the box office in a similar frame as other recent war films, 2001’s Black Hawk Down and last year’s Zero Dark Thirty. While not as well-received as either of these Oscar winners, Survivor is riding on its early positive reception to reach the top spot.

Theaters are showing Survivor as early as 8 p.m. tonight, which will garner a decent head start on the weekend. Survivor won’t quite open to Black Hawk Down’s $28.6 million or Zero Dark Thirty’s $24.4 million. However, a $23 million debut shouldn’t be ruled out.

Opening around 2000 theaters, The Legend of Hercules is not expected to crack the weekend’s Top 5. Hercules stars Kellan Lutz (The Twilight Saga) as the demigod offspring of Zeus seeking revenge on his stepfather who banished him. Outside of being a supporting vampire in Twilight, Lutz is not exactly a box-office draw. Neither is director Renny Harlin, whose films include Cutthroat Island (1995), Deep Blue Sea (1999) and 12 Rounds (2009).

With Hercules: The Thracian Wars on the horizon, audiences will be holding off until Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson assumes the demigod persona this July. Advance showings 10 p.m. Thursday night will make little difference in Hercules’ opening. The Legend of Hercules will struggle to reach $6 million by Sunday.

Critical favorite Her expands to 1700 theaters this weekend. The Spike Jonze film aims to gain momentum this weekend at not just the box office, but the Golden Globes this Sunday too. Word-of-mouth from the New York Film Festival and its limited December release has generated plenty of buzz for Her. But while Her might not win over mainstream audiences with its tech-love premise, the art-house crowd will compensate for a fair box office increase. Her could end up just above $9 million.

Box Office Projections

1. Lone Survivor (Universal) – $23.5 million (NR)

2. Frozen (Buena Vista) – $13.1 million (1)

3. Her (WB) – $9.5 million (19)

4. The Wolf of Wall Street (Paramount) – $9.1 million (4)

5. American Hustle (Sony) – $8.9 million (5)


Matt Marshall is a YouTube movie reviewer who hosts MNMreviews. He has a B.A. in Communications/Journalism from St. John Fisher College and resides in Rochester, NY.

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