‘The Revenant’ Steals Box Office Show From ‘Star Wars’ at Hollywood Arclight

Leonardo DiCaprio frontier tale tops the storied multiplex — the only top 10 site not led by “The Force Awakens”

The landmark Arclight Hollywood multiplex was at the center of a nasty spat between “The Hateful Eight” writer-director Quentin Tarantino and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” distributor Disney in December, but this past weekend Leonardo DiCaprio‘s “The Revenant” stole the show from both of them.

Tarantino accused Disney of “extortion” when Pacific Theatres executives chose to open “The Force Awakens” at the Arclight’s Cinerama Dome on Dec. 18 rather than his “Hateful Eight.” The famed dome features a 110-foot screen and a rare 70 mm film projector, a format the director has championed and which he and the Weinstein Company chose for an exclusive 100-theater launch.

But over the weekend, the big news from Arclight Hollywood didn’t come from “Star Wars,” “Hateful Eight” or the Dome. It was Fox’s “The Revenant” which, playing on two of the Arclight complex’s 13 other screens, managed to make Rentrak’s list of top 10 highest-grossing sites — the only movie other than “The Force Awakens” on the list.

The Alejandro Iñárritu-directed “Revenant’ — like Tarantino’s “Hateful Eight” an R-rated snowbound frontier thriller — generated $198,767 over the three days, the sixth-best showing of any theater in North America. It was the second weekend in release for “The Revenant,” which brought in $427,829 from the Arclight and three other theaters for an impressive $111,957 average.

“It shows how compelling a rich cinematic experience can be,” said Rentrak senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian. “That’s a theater that draws real film aficionados so it doesn’t surprise me that it did well, but doing well enough to get in the top 10 is really impressive.

The showing was down less than six percent from the film’s opening the previous week in the same four theaters, when it brought in $474,560 for a $118,640 per screen average. The word of mouth from those screenings and the reviews (81 percent positive on Rotten Tomatoes) should be a solid springboard for this weekend’s nationwide expansion of “The Revenant,” which will see it widen from four to 3,372-plus theaters.

“We think it’s going to play to a broad audience, mainly because it’s a really good movie,” Fox distribution chief Chris Aronson told TheWrap Tuesday. Landing that many theaters in a crowded market that includes ‘Star Wars’ on 4,000-plus screens is an indication that exhibitors believe the awards hopeful has broad appeal, too. Older men and women are primary demographic targets.

Choosing “Star Wars” turned out to be the right decision for the Arclight, at least from a financial standpoint. The Hollywood site produced the biggest three-day haul ever for a single location on the Dec. 20 weekend, taking in more than $715,000 over the three days, Rentrak said.

Separately on Tuesday, Tarantino received word that three of the top U.K. theater chains would not be playing “The Hateful Eight” when it opens there on Friday, after failing to come to terms with the film’s U.K. distributor Entertainment Films.