Box Office: 'Lone Survivor' Takes No Prisoners, Headed for $34 Million Debut
Elsewhere, "August: Osage County" is beating "Her" despite playing in far fewer theaters, while "The Legend of Hercules" bombs.
Thanks to an especially strong showing in America's heartland, Peter Berg's Navy SEALs drama, Lone Survivor, is surging at the Friday box office, where it's now on course to hit $34 million for the weekend, far more than expected.
The patriotic-themed film -- starring Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch and Ben Foster -- is based on Marcus Luttrell's memoir about four SEALs sent on a dangerous mission to Afghanistan. (Wahlberg plays Luttrell.) Universal is releasing Lone Survivor domestically and in select foreign markets. Emmett/Furla Films produced the $40 million pic, which was financed in part by Envision Films.
Lone Survivor, which will have no trouble winning the weekend ahead of Frozen and other holdovers, is seeing big numbers in states such as Texas, Utah, Colorado, Georgia, Nevada and Virginia. (It's also doing well in San Diego, a military town.)
The other film doing strong business on Friday is John Wells' August: Osage County, starring Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts. The dysfunctional family drama, from The Weinstein Co., is beating Spike Jonze's Her despite playing in far fewer theaters (905 versus 1,729). Her, from Warner Bros., stars Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson.
Lone Survivor, Osage County and Her are all expanding nationwide on Friday after launching exclusively in New York and Los Angeles over the year-end holidays in an effort to build word-of-mouth and piggyback on awards buzz. Both Her and Osage County are up for top awards at Sunday's Golden Globes ceremony.
The big loser of the weekend looks to be Millennium Films' The Legend of Hercules, distributed in the U.S. by Summit Entertainment. The epic may have trouble clearing $9 million or $10 million in its domestic debut, despite a $70 million production budget.