With a blizzard hammering the East Coast, Leonardo DiCaprio’s “The Revenant” topped a subdued U.S. box office with $16 million at 3,711 locations this weekend, according to Sunday estimates.
Winter Storm Jonas shut down theaters Saturday in New York City, Washington D.C., Baltimore and Philadelphia, cutting the nation’s overall moviegoing for the weekend by as much as 12% with as many as 400 locations affected. Some New York locations were re-opening Sunday but the icy conditions were likely to hold down box office in the Northeast.
Overall business was down 32% from last weekend to $113 million and off 29% from the same 2015 weekend, according to Rentrak.
Fox’s “The Revenant,” set in the brutal winter of 1823, came in first for the first time after two second-place finishes following its wide-release expansion on Jan. 8. The Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu epic, which took in a dozen Oscar nominations on Jan. 14, has topped the $119 million mark domestically.
The sixth weekend of Disney’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” grossed $14.3 million at 3,365 locations. The seventh “Star Wars” has extended its record-setting domestic total to $880 million in 38 days in the U.S. — $120 million higher than “Avatar.”
Universal’s second weekend of “Ride Along 2” finished third with $13 million at 3,192 sites as the frosty conditions cut into business at locations that had performed well in its opening frame.
Despite the storm, a trio of newcomers came in at the higher end of moderate expectations, led by Lionsgate’s raunchy comedy “Dirty Grandpa” with $11.5 million at 2,912 venues, followed by STX Entertainment’s horror-thriller “The Boy” with $11.3 million at 2,671 sites.
“Dirty Grandpa,” starring Robert De Niro and Zac Efron on a trip to Florida, has been hammered by critics but received a B Cinemascore. BillBlock Media financed the film.
STX distribution chief Kevin Grayson noted that “The Boy” played most strongly to females and those under 25 — demographics most likely to be held back by the storm. “We think those groups will be wanting to get out of the house on Sunday to see the film,” he added.
Sony’s launch of sci-fi thriller “The 5th Wave” finished in sixth with $10.7 million at 2,908 theaters.
“The storm certainly cut into U.S. business on Saturday,” said Sony distribution topper Rory Bruer. “It’s really hard to quantify but it looks like about 10%.”
Sony noted that “The 5th Wave,” starring Chloe Grace Moretz, took in $3.5 million on Friday, then rose 30% on Saturday to $4.5 million — the best mark among the openers. It also opened in Russia, Brazil, the U.K. and Spain to boost its foreign total to $27 million with over 30% of the international rollout still to come.
Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with Rentrak, noted that holdovers took the top three slots.
“With the weather, it was just not in the cards for the new releases to perform well this weekend — although they may see some decent actual numbers for Sunday if theaters in the storm area are open,” he added. “It turns out that ‘The Revenant’ had a perfect release date.”
Paramount’s second weekend of “13 Hours: the Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” finished a close seventh with $9.8 million at 2,917 locations with a decline of less than 40%. Michael Bay’s recap of the response to the 2012 attack in Libya has hit $33.5 million in its first 10 days.