The year is brand new, but already the movie box office has its first certified hit, but also its first really big bomb of the season. This is a week where there were few brand new movies in theaters, but it was a weekend that had a number of films that were in limited release expand nationwide.
1. Lone Survivor - the Mark Wahlberg war film based on a true story is now officially the first big hit of the 2014. It surprised many who thought it stood a very good chance of winning, but not at the level in which it did. The movie pulled in a very respectable $38.5 million. The movie also managed to get very good, mostly positive, reviews from critics. This is good news for Wahlberg, but the movie also stars Taylor Kitsch whose last couple of films (John Carter and Battleship) were notorious big-budget disasters.
2. Frozen - this Disney animated film continues to do well, once again proving that having a decent family film out is generally a good thing. I know that my own niece has been singing the soundtrack to this one a lot, so it seems destined for classic status. The movie pulled in a remarkable $14.6 million for the weekend and has, overall, accumulated $317.2 million.
3. The Wolf of Wall Street - this Martin Scorsese film starring Leonardo DiCaprio has been out for about three weeks now and it is proving to be one of those films that is likely to grow and grow in popularity and legend. Although reviews, even among Scorsese fans, has been somewhat mixed, audiences seem to be flocking to this tale of corporate greed and corruption. The movie pulled in about $9 million for the weekend. It has earned a cumulative $78.5 million so far and the awards buzz on it continues to grow, indicating this one may be around for a while.
4. The Legend of Hercules - and here we have 2014’s first big bomb. The movie has received positively scathing reviews that it is cheaply made and poorly acted. It seems that audiences heeded the warnings of critics and stayed away in droves. The movie reportedly cost of $70 million to make, but made only $8.6 million for the weekend.
American Hustle - tying with the other big opener for the weekend, this film is also garnering awards nominations and huge buzz. It also made $8.6 million for the weekend, but has been open for a few weeks now and has accumulated over $100 million.
5. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - the next installment of the Hobbit trilogy continues to do well, staying within the top five for the weekend. The movie performed very strongly during the holiday season and appears to be continuing without much drop off. It earned $8 million for the weekend, but has been out for over a month. In total it has earned over $200 million.
Also noteworthy, as far as performance, was the strange drama Her from director Spike Jonze. The strange story of a man who falls in love with a computer operating system has been generating big buzz, awards nominations talk, and earned $5.6 million for the weekend. This was the first weekend that it went nationwide, and has earned $8.8 million in total. That may not seem like much, but for a movie without any explosions, dragons, singing snowmen, and about such a strange topic, this movie may end up doing quite well. It’s definitely one to watch.