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The Revenant braves blizzard with $16m at box office

2016-01-24 20:36

New York — The snowy frontier saga The Revenant weathered a blizzard-ravaged box office.

Weekend movie-going was affected up and down the East Coast by Winter Storm Jonas, which forced theatre closures in Washington D.C. and New York, and caused hundreds of theatres to suspend showings. Studio executives said the storm had a major effect on business.

"It had a huge effect on the entire marketplace," said Kevin Grayson, head of domestic distribution for STX Entertainment, which debuted the horror thriller The Boy. ''Anywhere from 300 to 400 theatres were affected."

Fittingly, the film that most flourished in the frigid winter weather was 20th Century Fox's Oscar-nominated Revenant, which took in an estimated $16m in its third week of wide release. The Alejandro Inarritu-directed thriller, set in the 1820s, is proving to be one of Leonardo DiCaprio's biggest hits with $119.2m in North America thus far. It was also the top film internationally over the weekend with $33.8m.

Disney's Star Wars: The Force Awakens, came in second with $14.3m in its sixth week of release. The Force Awakens, with $1.94bn globally to date, will likely cross $2bn in the next week.

Last week's No. 1 movie, the Kevin Hart-Ice Cube comedy Ride Along 2, dropped steeply in its second week, sliding to third with $13m for Universal.

Those holdovers were trailed by a trio of new releases: Dirty Grandpa, The Boy and The 5th Wave, which all earned $10m to $12m over the weekend.

Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for box-office firm Rentrak, said the storm had an effect, but cautioned against overestimating its impact.

"It probably altered the box office 10 or 12% overall," Dergarabedian said. "This was never predestined to be an earth-shattering box office weekend, anyway."

Lionsgate's Dirty Grandpa, starring Robert De Niro and Zac Efron, received some of the harshest reviews of the year. It narrowly edged out the other newcomers with an estimated $11.5m.

The Boy, a PG-13 rated supernatural tale that cost only about $10m to make, earned an estimated $11.3m.

Sony's The 5th Wave, which cost about $38m to make, is a young-adult adaption from the first of Rick Yancey's trilogy of science-fiction books about alien invasion. Starring Chloe Grace Moretz, The 5th Wave $10.7m debut didn't suggest a budding YA franchise. But Rory Bruer, head of distribution for Sony, was upbeat about the result and said it came in "ahead of our expectations with the storm."

"Jonas was certainly no friend to the movie industry," Bruer said.

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