Lone Survivor: Best War-Film Bow Since 9/11

'Hercules' stumbles while 'Frozen' clings to second spot

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 12, 2014 1:35 PM CST

(Newser) Lone Survivor shocked Hollywood this weekend with a blistering $38.9 million debut—the best of any war film since 9/11, says the Hollywood Reporter. Analysts tell USA Today that the Mark Wahlberg drama, about a US military mission gone wrong, fared well in the heartland thanks to a patriotic ad campaign. "Instead of focusing on the downer of a story, Universal's marketing has played up the movie's themes of courage and brotherhood," says an expert from Box Office Mojo. Filling out the top five are Frozen ($15.1 million), The Wolf of Wall Street ($9 million), newcomer The Legend of Hercules and American Hustle (both $8.6 million).

Meanwhile the darkly comedic August: Osage County, starring Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, expanded to 905 screens for about $2.2 million, Entertainment Weekly reports. "The success of the film clearly speaks to the popularity of Meryl and Julia," said a Weinstein Company executive. The well-reviewed Her, about a writer who falls for his computer's operating system, grew to an extra 1,600 theaters and banked a soft $5 million. "This isn't about today's particular result, it's about feeding the film for upcoming weeks," said a Warner Bros. executive about the company's Oscar strategy.

This image released by The Weinstein Company  shows, from left, Meryl Streep, Julianne Nicholson and Juliette Lewis in a scene from August: Osage County.
This image released by The Weinstein Company shows, from left, Meryl Streep, Julianne Nicholson and Juliette Lewis in a scene from "August: Osage County."   (AP Photo/The Weinstein Company, Claire Folger)
This photo released by Universal Pictures shows Taylor Kitsch, left, as Michael Murphy and Mark Wahlberg as Marcus Luttrell in a scene from the film, “Lone Survivor.
This photo released by Universal Pictures shows Taylor Kitsch, left, as Michael Murphy and Mark Wahlberg as Marcus Luttrell in a scene from the film, “Lone Survivor."   (AP Photo/Universal Pictures, Gregory R. Peters)
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