Box Office Preview: 'Catching Fire,' 'Frozen' Set to Devour 'Out of the Furnace'

Relativity Media
"Out of the Furnace"

Boasting a strong ensemble cast led by Christian Bale, "Out of the Furnace" may only gross $5 million to $8 million as it opens nationwide after debuting Wednesday in New York and Los Angeles to modest numbers; the Coen brothers' "Inside Llewyn Davis" launches in four theaters.

Prospects are looking grim for Scott Cooper's gritty thriller Out of the Furnace, the only new wide release to brave one of the worst moviegoing weekends of the year.

Furnace, produced by Ridley Scott and Leonardo DiCaprio for Relativity Media, rolls out nationwide Friday after quietly debuting Wednesday in four theaters in Los Angeles and New York. The movie -- touting an ensemble cast led by Christian Bale, Woody Harrelson and Casey Affleck -- grossed $14,464 for a subdued location average of $3,616.

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Prerelease tracking suggests the movie will open in the $5 million to $8 million range, a disappointing start that could mark the worst opening for a Bale film debuting in more than 2,000 theaters. Receiving generally good to mixed reviews, Furnace cost $22 million to make, minimizing Relativity's financial risk. 

The thriller stars  Bale as a blue-collar worker in Pennsylvania who must rescue his brother (Affleck), an Iraq War veteran caught up with a ruthless crime ring. Forest Whitaker, Willem Dafoe, Zoe Saldana and Sam Shepard also star. Cooper (Crazy Heart) wrote the script with Brad Ingelsby.

Scott and DiCaprio, via his company Appian Way, produced Out of the Furnace alongside Jennifer Davisson Killoran, Relativity chief Ryan Kavanaugh and Michael Costigan.

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Holdovers The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and animated pic Frozen are expected to crush the competition after dominating the long Thanksgiving holiday. Lionsgate's Catching Fire, heading into its third weekend, has now grossed a massive $307 million domestically and north of $600 million worldwide (the first film took in $691 million in all).

Frozen, sporting the top opening of all time for a Walt Disney Animation Studios title, has already zoomed past the $100 million mark domestically after launching on the eve of Thanksgiving. Through Wednesday, the family film has grossed $107.8 million domestically. Catching Fire is expected to stay at No. 1 this weekend, although Frozen could upset those plans if it overperforms.

The high-profile opening at the specialty box office is Joel and Ethan Coen's latest outing, Inside Llewyn Davis, which was named best picture earlier this week at the Gotham Awards. From CBS Films, the critically acclaimed film opens in four theaters in New York and Los Angeles. Produced by Scott Rudin, Inside Llewyn Davis stars Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake, John Goodman and Garrett Hedlund.