‘Lone Survivor’ Has Second Biggest January Opening Ever

Wahlberg's on top as 'Frozen' keeps climbing animation's all-time top 10.

Navy SEAL drama “Lone Survivor” beat “Black Hawk Down,” “Zero Dark Thirty” and Mark Wahlberg’s own “Contraband” over the weekend, beating industry expectations with the second biggest January opening of all time. Only the “Cloverfield” monster, with its $40.1 million from 2008, stood in front of “Lone Survivor.” The estimated $38.5 million haul was even bigger than writer/director Peter Berg’s big-budget 2012 bomb, “Battleship.”

Disney’s “Frozen” was #2 over the weekend as it held strong against newcomer “The Legend of Hercules” with ease. Neither the Coens’ “Inside Llewyn Davis” nor Spike Jonze’s “Her” did super well as they expanded nationwide, though “Her” did earn Jonze a Golden Globe on Sunday.

At the Golden Globes, Disney’s “Frozen” took something of a victory lap with that Best Animated Feature Film win. At $15.1 million, “Frozen” had the fourth biggest seventh weekend ever, behind only “Avatar,” “Titanic” and “The Passion of the Christ.” Its $317.6 million domestic total puts it at #7 among giant animation hits, just $5 million shy of “Shrek the Third” and $50 million away from #5, “Despicable Me 2.”

Wahlberg broke into his own Top 5 with “Lone Survivor.” Only the 2001 “Planet of the Apes” remake, 2012′s comedy smash “Ted” and his costarring turn alongside George Clooney in “The Perfect Storm” have opened bigger for the onetime rapper/model turned actor/producer. MTV News correspondent Josh Horowitz’s frequent comedy sparring partner was the force behind 2010′s Oscar winning “The Fighter” and watched “Ted” balloon past $200 million domestically just two years later. (“Broken City,” “Pain and Gain” and “2 Guns” all underperformed last year.)

The passionate involvement in “Lone Survivor,” coupled with Universal’s smart heroism marketing, led to its unexpected success on Sunday. Analysts always expected a win for “Lone Survivor,” but the estimates came in closer to the $25 million mark.

On a similar note, experts expected “The Legend of Hercules” to stumble, but its performance was truly abysmal. “Hercules” tied “American Hustle” (which has already made more than $100 million) for #4 with its estimated $8.6 million. The sword-and-sandals epic features “Twilight” veteran Kellan Lutz in the lead. “Lone Survivor” sat at 75 percent on Rotten Tomatoes going into the weekend and walked away with a rare A+ CinemaScore from audiences who saw it, whereas the $70 million “Hercules” received a B- and an incredibly low 4 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

“American Hustle” won Best Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical at the Golden Globes on Sunday, with Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence both winning in acting categories, as well. The latest from “The Fighter” and “Silver Linings Playbook” director David O. Russell has now earned $101.5 million domestically and another $17 million around the world, putting it already ahead of “The Fighter” and on track to pass “Playbook,” as well.

Leonardo DiCaprio took home a Golden Globe for his role in “The Wolf of Wall Street,” which was #3 at the box office with $9 million. Martin Scorsese’s darkly comic three-hour long epic has made $78.5 million since it started in limited release three weeks ago.

“Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones” took a nosedive during its second weekend, as horror flicks often do, generating just $6.3 million. Nevertheless, considering the found-footage movie’s $5 million budget, there’s no reason to scoff at the spinoff’s $28.4 million total. By comparison, Keanu Reeves’ long delayed martial arts epic “47 Ronin” has earned only $36.3 million of its estimated $175 million budget domestically. It’s done much better overseas, where it’s picked up another $51 million, but it’s still a very long way from being profitable.