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Whisper Numbers: Lone Survivor should prevail on top.



Four films in limited release with Oscar aspirations expand wide this weekend at the box office led by Lone Survivor [LSURV] starring Mark Wahlberg [MWAHL]. The R-rated action drama is based on the true story of an ill-fated U.S. Navy SEAL mission in Afghanistan. Universal has played up the heroism in its marketing campaign, while the real-life lone survivor Marcus Luttrell has been making the publicity rounds with director Peter Berg [PEBER]. Two years ago, Act of Valor featuring real-life SEALs debuted with $24.5 million, though in the less crowded late February. Football playoffs and a really cold winter could hold back some of the mainstream audiences.  Playing in 2786 theaters, Lone Survivor could pull out $20 million.

Not even the ‘polar vortex’ could cool down Frozen [FROZE.BW], which is likely to finished second in its eighth week with another $12 million.

After earning $3 million in 3 weeks of limited release, Her [HERSJ] expands wide into 1729 theaters. Joaquin Phoenix [JPHOE] plays a man who falls in love with the artificial female voice of his smartphone.  Directed by Spike Jonze [SJONZ], the offbeat drama has earned rave reviews and critical awards. With buzz among hipsters yound and old, Her could download $9 million.

Summit slotted the low-budgeted The Legend of Hercules [HRCLB] into release just two months ago to beat Paramount’s big-budgeted Hercules. Although Kellan Lutz [KLUTZ] appeared in the Twilight series, he lacks any drawing starpower.  Marketed as Gladiator meets 300, the R-rated actioner will only appeal to young men. Playing in 2104 theaters, The Legend of Hercules may grab $6 million.

As with most horror sequels, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones [OXNRD] looks to drop around 60% in its second session to around $7 million.

The two other acclaimed films expanding wide this weekend are courting older moviegoers. August, Osage County [AUGOC] starring Meryl Streep [MSTRE] and Julia Roberts [JROBE] may gather $6 million from 905 locations. Inside Llewyn Davis [INSLD] directed by the Coen brothers [COEN] could tune up $3 million from 729 theaters.

That’s the whisper from the virtual trading floor.



Tag(s): LSURV, MWAHL, PEBER, HERSJ, JPHOE, SJONZ, HRCLB, KLUTZ, OXNRD, AUGOC, MSTRE, JROBE, INSLD, COEN

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By Box Office Whisperer on Thursday, January 9, 2014 @ 04:01 PM        2182 views


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