'Lone Survivor' takes over in a big way

Posted Jan 12, 2014 by Tim O'Brien
The box office report takes a back seat to The Golden Globes, but the winner took many by surprise as to the size of its victory.
 Lone Survivor  wins over males at the box office.
"Lone Survivor" wins over males at the box office.
Box Office Mojo
"Lone Survivor" takes the top spot from "Frozen" while "The Legend of Hercules" was all myth to movie-goers as it failed to fire up any real enthusiasm. So much myth that is was ignored. It was holdovers and potential award winners that are getting the attention now. As it should be. This is the time of year for awards to take the spotlight.
But "Lone Survivor" taking the top spot is a surprise. Oh, not a huge one, but taking in that amount has to be a jolt to some. The gap between one and two is a wide one. It should be noted that this is the third week in release for "Lone Survivor," so it was not among the new wide releases, but rather it expanded to 2,876 theaters. Perhaps that is why some may be taken aback by the numbers.
Or perhaps, Hollywood was blindsided that it had so much appeal considering the subject matter. Not all war movies of late have registered, but this patriotic tale did. The movie had the second-best opening ever for January. The audience was mostly male, too, to the tune of 57 percent and that same percentage over the age of 30. Hence, the surprise in numbers. The males turned out in droves to see this film.
"Frozen" continues its wonderful ride. A second place finish after jumping back to No. 1 last weekend shows its lasting power.
1. "The Lone Survivor" - $38.5 million
2. "Frozen" - $15 million
This list will be updated when it becomes more clear which film finished third and beyond.
But, one other huge factor comes into play - football. The NFL is enjoying big ratings, not only as the playoffs go on, but the regular season was fantastic. Of the top 35 shows of the fall season, 34 were NFL games. The playoffs are scoring even better. A whopping 47.1 million people tuned in to the San Francisco/Green Bay wild card game. To put that in perspective, around 40 million watched last year's Oscar telecast.
Weather hammers things, too, especially the box office. While weather can hurt movie box office, it can help the TV audience, if the power doesn't go out. If more people are stuck home in a snow storm, chances are the TV audience will grow.
TV ratings are also playing a factor into the decision to move the Oscars to March this year. In no way would they want to compete with another worldwide sporting event, The Winter Olympics on NBC.
Meanwhile, "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" passed "Iron Man 3" as the top-grossing movie of 2103, or did it? Of course, it was released in 2013 but overall, it has now passed "Iron Man 3," but some of that cash is coming in 2014, so tread lightly when that list is compiled. This only is for domestic take, too, so again, semantics. The worldwide leader for 2013 is still "Iron Man 3."