Box Office (Specialty): 'Lone Survivor' Scores Needed Win for Peter Berg
John Wells' dysfunctional family drama "August: Osage County" -- starring Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts -- also does nicely in its New York-Los Angeles debut; "Philomena" crosses $16 million.
Peter Berg's Navy SEALs drama Lone Survivor enjoyed a strong launch in its awards qualifying run, posting the best theater average of any film over the post-Christmas weekend.
Opening in New York and Los Angeles on Christmas day, the movie -- starring Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch and Ben Foster -- took in $155,435 in its first five days. For the weekend itself, Lone Survivor earned $92,468 for a location average of $46,234.
Berg, who was last in theaters with expensive miss Battleship, could use a box office win. Lone Survivor, released by Universal and financed by Emmett/Furla Films, will launch nationwide on Jan. 10.
Lone Survivor follows four SEALs on a covert mission in Afghanistan and is based on Marcus Luttrell's best-selling memoir. Berg wrote the adapted script.
Among other new award contenders braving the crowded Christmas box office, John Wells' star-studded August: Osage County also enjoyed a promising start. Opening Friday in New York and Los Angeles, the dysfunctional family drama took in $179,475 for a theater average of $35,895, the second best of the frame.
Osage County, adapted from Tracy Letts' play, stars Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Chris Cooper, Sam Shepard, Benedict Cumberbatch, Juliette Lewis, Julianne Nicholson, Dermot Mulroney and Abigail Breslin.
Audiences delivered Osage County an A- CinemaScore, despite mixed reviews. (Lone Survivor has likewise received mixed notices.)
"Critics decided to jump on the movie for whatever reason, but audiences love the movie," said Erik Lomis, distribution chief for The Weinstein Co., which is releasing Osage County.
Ralph Fiennes' biographical drama The Invisible Woman debuted to more modest results, grossing $37,149 from three locations in New York and Los Angeles for a screen average of $12,383. Fiennes both directed and stars in the British film, playing Charles Dickens opposite Felicity Jones and Kristin Scott Thomas. Sony Pictures Classics is releasing Invisible Woman in the U.S.
Among award holdovers, TWC's Philomena continued to please, crossing the $16 million mark in its sixth weekend. From director Stephen Frears, Philomena took in $1.8 million from 727 theaters for total North American earnings of $16.5 million.
CBS Films' Inside Llewyn Davis, the latest outing from Joel and Ethan Coen, grossed a sturdy $1.3 million as it upped its theater count to 161 locations for a total gross of $4.6 million in its fourth weekend. The film's location average of $7,792 was among the weekend's best.
Spike Jonze's Her upped its theater county from six to 47 in its second weekend, grossing $645,000 for a location average of $13,723 and cume of $1.1 million.
Iranian director Asghar Farhadi's The Past, from SPC, grossed $39,240 in its second weekend from five theaters for a location average of $7,848. The film's cume is $93,244.