The Revenant
Courtesy of Fox

Leonardo DiCaprio’s “The Revenant” grossed an impressive $2.3 million on Thursday as it expanded nationwide.

The Oscar contender played in 2,501 U.S. locations during Thursday night screenings. Fox expands “The Revenant” from four theaters to 3,371 on Friday with early expectations of an opening in the $20 million range. The stark drama has performed solidly in its limited release, earning $1.5 million since Christmas.

Gramercy’s horror-thriller “The Forest” generated a respectable $515,000 at 1,700 sites in Thursday night previews.

“The Revenant” and “The Forest” are facing the fourth weekend of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which set a new record Wednesday as the top domestic movie of all time by eclipsing the final total for “Avatar.” “The Force Awakens” took in $6.2 million domestically on Wednesday, its 20th day of release, for a cume of $764.4 million.

The sci-fi pic is expected to remain dominant this weekend with at least $40 million in the U.S. after a record-setting third weekend of $90 million.

“The Revenant,” directed by Alejandro G. Inarritu, stars DiCaprio as fur trapper Hugh Glass, who was mauled by a bear and left for dead by members of his party during a brutal winter expedition in 1823.

“The Revenant” carries plenty of awards season credibility with a Producers Guild nomination announced Tuesday, American Society of Cinematographers nom unveiled Wednesday, four Golden Globes nominations and a Screen Actors Guild nod for DiCaprio. The film carries a $135 million price tag with New Regency financing along with RatPac, Alpha Pictures and Empyre.

“The Forest” is launching in 2,450 theaters in North America and is targeted at female audiences with an emphasis on Hispanic movie-goers. Pre-release tracking indicates a launch in the $8 million to $12 million range for the $10 million project.

The story centers on an American, played by “Game of Thrones” star Natalie Dormer, investigating the disappearance of her twin sister in the legendary Aokigahara Forest at the base of Mount Fuji.

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