Box Office: ‘The Revenant’ Chases $37 Million, Likely Topping ‘Force Awakens’

Leonardo DiCaprio’s survivalist drama “The Revenant” and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” are locked in a bitter battle at the multiplex this weekend. Based on Friday night receipts, “The Revenant” appears to have taken a slight lead.

“The Revenant” pulled in $14.3 million as it opened wide on Friday, putting it on track for a weekend haul of $37 million. Directed by Alejandro G. Inarritu, Fox’s R-rated tale of frontier justice is playing in 3,375 locations. It bowed to an impressive $2.3 million in Thursday night preview screenings as it expanded from a fruitful four-screen run that began on Christmas Day, during which it picked up $1.5 million.

Earlier estimates had pegged “The Revenant’s” opening weekend total around $20 million. Tom Hardy and Domhnall Gleeson also star in the pic, which has been earning major awards buzz for DiCaprio’s performance and its cinematography.

“Force Awakens,” now in its fourth weekend of play, took in $10.7 million on Friday, on the road to a three-day total north of $36 million. This brings its cumulative domestic gross to $781 million. The space opera has already surpassed all other titles in U.S. receipts, recently topping previous record-holder “Avatar.” It’s also the U.K. and Ireland’s largest release ever. The film is unspooling in 4,134 locations.

Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Harrison Ford start in the seventh chapter of the Disney-Lucasfilm saga. It has shot past “Minions” for the 10th spot on the international box office chart, with a global total of more than $1.5 billion.

Also in theaters is Paramount’s Will Ferrell-Mark Wahlberg comedy “Daddy’s Home,” which is the third best performer of the weekend. The pic took in $4.2 million on Friday from 3,483 locations, portending a three-day total around $14 million.

Focus opened thriller “The Forest,” starring Natalie Dormer and Taylor Kinney, on Friday, when it pulled in $5 million in 2,451 locations. Following a woman who travels into Japan’s notorious “suicide forest” to find her sister, the pic should finish the weekend with between $11 million and $12 million.

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