Box Office Prediction: 'Lone Survivor' vs. 'The Legend of Hercules'

Lone Survivor vs. Legend of Hercules

Welcome to the Screen Rant Box Office Prediction. Every week we put together an informal list of box office picks for the upcoming weekend - in collaboration with the Screen Rant Underground podcast Box Office Battle - to offer readers a rough estimate of how new releases (and returning holdovers) will perform in theaters.

For a recap of last week's box office totals, read our box office wrap-up from Paranormal Activity: The Marked One's opening weekend - and scroll to the bottom of this post to see how our previous picks measured up.

Full disclosure: Box office predictions are not an exact science. We acknowledge that our picks may not always be correct. For the sake of offering a jumping off point for discussion, here are our picks for the weekend of January 10-12, 2014.

This weekend, war drama Lone Survivor expands to 2,700 theaters, action movie The Legend of Hercules debuts in 2,000 theaters, the sci-fi romance Her expands to over 1,700 theaters, and folk music dramedy Inside Llewyn Davis expands to over 500 locations.


#1 - Lone Survivor

Our pick for the top spot this week is the war drama, Lone Survivor, which is getting a nationwide expansion on Friday after having a limited run in two theaters since Christmas. The film has benefited from a strong marketing campaign and healthy word-of-mouth, as early reviews have been positive. Featuring Mark Wahlberg in the starring role will also give it an edge, since the actor has headlined a number of box office hits in the past few years, including 2 Guns ($75.6 million), Ted ($218.8 million), and The Fighter ($93.6 million).

The Lone Survivor trailer

#2 - Frozen

Look for last week’s champ, Frozen (read our review), to come in second this weekend. Disney’s animated film has certainly taken advantage of the lack of family films currently on the market, as it has grossed $296.6 million domestically at the time of this writing. Next week’s arrival of The Nut Job may take some business away from it, but for now Frozen should continue to post big numbers.

#3 - The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Coming in third should be The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (read our review). Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings prequel may not have matched the totals of 2012’s An Unexpected Journey, but it still proved to be one of the top earners of the season. Its $15.6 million intake from last weekend shows that it still has staying power with audiences and could still be a viable option for moviegoers craving a fantasy adventure.

#4 - The Wolf of Wall Street

Our choice for fourth place is The Wolf of Wall Street (read our review). Martin Scorsese’s latest film isn’t without its fair share of controversy, but it’s a movie that’s getting people talking – and showing up to the theater. The dark comedy made $13.2 million last weekend, proving that despite a mixed audience reaction, it has fairly strong legs. The film should continue to perform well as movie fans gear up for the Oscar nominations.

#5 - American Hustle

Rounding out the top five should be American Hustle (read our review). David O. Russell’s all-star caper has made $87.9 million to date and remains a solid draw for audiences (it made $12.4 million last weekend). Like The Wolf of Wall Street, this awards hopeful should continue to bring people in thanks to its Oscar prospects.

#10 - Inside Llewyn Davis

Our tiebreaker for this week is Inside Llewyn Davis (read our review). The new Coen brothers film finished in 15th place last weekend with just over $1 million, but those numbers should be larger this week. The folk music dramedy is getting an expansion to over 500 theaters on Friday and it will look to parlay its considerable amount of awards buzz into solid box office returns. While it’s not playing in enough locations to crack the top five, the Coens have always posted respectable numbers thanks to the passion of their fan base and Inside Llewyn Davis could continue that thanks to strong word-of-mouth.


We do not expect The Legend of Hercules to finish in the top five. The action movie is entering theaters with little-to-no buzz and early projections have it bombing this weekend. Lone Survivor could ultimately be the new release audiences opt for (thanks to its emotional story) and the holdovers are proving to be too popular for this one to leave a mark.

Like Inside Llewyn Davis, Spike Jonze’s buzzed-about sci-fi romance Her is also getting a nationwide expansion on Friday. It will be playing in over 1,700 theaters and so far has made over $3 million from 47 locations. The critically acclaimed film could very well emerge as a box office dark horse as awards season heats up (especially if it scores an Oscar nod or two), but we can’t say with confidence that it will make the top five. The number of theaters is lower than any of the new releases or remaining holdovers (putting it at a minor disadvantage) and its unique premise - while interesting to some - is high-concept and will be a slightly harder sell at mainstream theater complexes.

That's it for this week's breakdown.


Screen Rant Underground Podcast

Now, if you want to participate in the weekly Box Office Battle, it's time for you to make your picks! In the comments section below, post what you think will be the top five movies this weekend at the box office as well as your own number ten tiebreaker. Then, tune into the Screen Rant Underground podcast for the results and find out who won.

Opening in theaters this week (Wide):

  • Lone Survivor - 2,700 theaters
  • The Legend of Hercules - 2,000 theaters
  • Her - 1,700+ theaters
  • Inside Llewyn Davis - 500+ theaters

Opening in theaters this week (Limited):

  • N/A

Box Office Battle Scoring Rules: You get three (3) points for each direct match with the weekend actuals and one (1) point for each movie placed within one spot of the exact position. A perfect score is 15 points. Tie-breakers are not worth any points but, in the event of a tie, the person with a tie-breaker selection closest to the number 10 spot will be awarded the win.

Last Week’s Official Box Office Battle Reader Winner (Paranormal Activity: The Marked One's opening): Sal reports that True was the winner with a score of 8

For the record, here are our picks from last week - along with the corresponding amount of points we received for each pick (listed in parenthesis).

  • #1 - The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (0)
  • #2 - Frozen (1)
  • #3 - Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (1)
  • #4 - Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (0)
  • #5 - American Hustle (3)
  • #10 - 47 Ronin
  • Final Score: 5 points


Make sure to check back later this week for the official box office results and tune into the Screen Rant Underground podcast for the weekly winners!

Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisAgar90

Source: Box Office Mojo (Release Schedule)

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