In the process, it blew the doors off the weekend’s only wide opener, “I, Frankenstein,” the special effects-heavy remake of Mary Shelley‘s horror classic starring Aaron Eckhart, which finished sixth with a weak $8.2 million three-day total.
The runner-up movie was the Afghan War drama “Lone Survivor” with $12.6 million, giving Universal Pictures the top two movies for the second week in a row and its third straight weekend win. It marks the first time a studio’s films have achieved that in nearly two decades, when Warner Bros. had “On Deadly Ground” and “Ace Ventura” in the first and second positions for two weeks in February 1994.
“Ride Along” upped its domestic total to $75 million and the Mark Wahlberg battle saga has taken in nearly $94 million since opening at No. 1 three weeks ago.
The animated family film “The Nut Job” wasn’t far behind in third, with an $12.3 million three-day total that raised its domestic haul to over $40 million after two weeks for Open Road.
“I, Frankenstein” is distributed by Lionsgate and was produced for $65 million by Lakeshore Entertainment, the company behind the “Underworld” movies. Those all opened over $20 million, but analysts had projected that “Frankenstein” would do about half that, and it did. Audiences – 62 percent male and 60 percent over 25 years of age – gave it a “B” CinemaScore. About 60 percent of its grosses came from 3D.
“Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit” and Disney’s blockbuster “Frozen” were close for fourth, with just under $9 million.
That was good news for “Frozen,” which is showing incredible staying power – it was off just 19 percent from last week despite dropping 212 theaters – and has raised its domestic total to $347 million after 10 weeks in release.
But it wasn’t so good for “Shadow Recruit.” Paramount had hoped to reboot its franchise based on Tom Clancy‘s novels with Chris Pine as the lead, but its failure to break out, so-so second week and $30 million domestic total make that a long shot. It’s done better overseas, where it has totaled more than $46 million in two weeks.
Three Oscar contenders followed.
David O. Russell‘s Best Picture nominee “American Hustle” was the top grosser. The con-man comedy took in just under $7 million to claim the seventh spot and raise its domestic total to nearly $127 million in its seventh week. “Silver Linings Playbook,” Russell’s 2012 Oscar contender, took in $135 million over its entire run.
“The Wolf of Wall Street,” Martin Scorsese‘s black comedy starring Leonardo DiCaprio, was next with just over $5 million. The R-rated take on the sex-and-drugs excess of the 1980s stock market boom, also a Best Picture nominee, will cross the $100 million mark at the domestic box office in the next day or two.
“August: Osage County” was just behind it, with a little under $5 million. The Weinstein Company’s dysfunctional family comedy starring Meryl Streep and Julie Roberts, both Oscar nominees, is up to $26 million after five weeks.
Focus Features’ Matthew McConaughey-Jared Leto AIDS drama “Dallas Buyers Club” was in 1,110 theaters, its widest release so far. It brought in a little over $2 million for the weekend to cross the $20 million mark in its 13th week.
After two months in limited release, Paramount went wide with “Nebraska” this weekend. The black-and-white drama starring Bruce Dern brought in a quiet $1.4 million from 968 theaters to up its total to $11.6 million in 11 weeks domestically.
Two frontrunners in the Best Picture race, “12 Year a Slave” and “Gravity” both added theaters to their re-releases this week seeking to cash in on awards momentum.
Director Steve McQueen slavery saga took in $1.9 million from 1,231 locations and lifted its overall domestic total over $43 million after 15 weeks.
Director Guild Award winner Alfonso Cuaron‘s space epic brought in $1.8 million from 1,260 theaters to up its domestic haul to $261 million after 17 weeks. The Sandra Bullock-George Clooney 3D thriller should get another boost next weekend, when it returns to Imax theaters.