The film stars Mark Wahlberg as Marcus Luttrell, the only one
of four SEALS to return from the mission and who wrote the 2007
book on which the movie is based.
"Frozen," a Walt Disney Co animated film and last week's box
office winner, was second with ticket sales of $15.1 million
from Friday through Sunday, according to estimates from Rentrak.
"The Wolf of Wall Street," a tale of greed starring Leonardo
DiCaprio, was third with $9 million, while this week's other new
major release, "The Legend of Hercules," starring fashion model
and actor Kellan Lutz, was just behind, selling $8.6 million in
"Hercules" was tied for fourth place with "American Hustle," an
awards-season favorite directed by David O. Russell and starring
Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper.
"Lone Survivor," directed and written by "Friday Nights Lights"
director Peter Berg, was the subject of a Hollywood bidding war
in 2007 won by Comcast Corp's Universal Pictures. The movie cost
$40 million to make, Universal said.
The heavily marketed film far exceeded industry projections of
about $23 million in domestic sales, including theaters in the
United States and Canada. It was the second biggest January
opening weekend ever, behind only "Cloverfield," which made $40
million, according to Rentrak.
"You can't make predictions on films like this," said Nikki
Rocco, Universal's president for domestic distribution, adding
"You just don't know how the public is going to embrace it."
[to top of second column]
But decent reviews along with what Rocco called "a
grassroots campaign to tell Americans that this is a story of
patriotism and heroism, and you're going to want to be a part of the
water cooler conversation about it on Monday," sent its box office
The film received a 73 rating from aggregator
website Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences gave the film an A+ grade,
according to CinemaScore, which measures ticket buyer reactions.
"The Legend of Hercules," which was forecast to have ticket sales of
$8 million, is the first of two films based on the son of the Greek
god Zeus. The second "Hercules" stars professional wrestler Dwayne
Johnson, also known as "The Rock," and is scheduled for release on
"The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" was sixth with $8 million in
ticket sales. After leading the domestic box office during the last
three weeks of 2013, the movie, the second of a three-part adaption
of J.R.R. Tolkien's 1937 novel, has hauled in $242 million
domestically and $809 million globally.
Viacom Inc's Paramount Pictures released "Wolf of Wall Street."
Warner Bros, a unit of Time Warner Inc, released "The Hobbit." Sony
Corp's movie studio distributed "American Hustle."
(Reporting by Ronald Grover and Chris
Michaud; editing by Leslie Adler and Jeffrey Benkoe)
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