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Box Office: Leonardo DiCaprio, ‘The Revenant’ to Clash Against ‘Star Wars’

Leonardo DiCaprio’s “The Revenant” will try to bear down on “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” at U.S. multiplexes this weekend.

Fox is expanding “The Revenant” from four locations to 3,371 on Friday with early expectations of an opening in the $20 million range. That should amount to about half of the fourth weekend of “The Force Awakens,” which crossed the $750 million mark in domestic box office on Monday and should take in at least $40 million during the upcoming frame.

The seventh Star Wars movie dominated during the New Year’s weekend with $90.2 million — more than three times the No. 2 film, Paramount’s “Daddy’s Home.”

“The Revenant,” directed by Alejando G. Inarritu, has grossed $1.4 million from its four locations since its Christmas Day opening. During the New Year’s weekend, it generated the sixth-best per-location gross with $198,767 at the Arclight Hollywood while “The Force Awakens” posted the top five.

DiCaprio portrays 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 shoot lasted nearly a year and stretched from Canada  to South America to capture realistic conditions.

“The Revenant” carries plenty of awards season credibility with a Producers Guild nomination announced Tuesday, 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 weekend will also see the first wide release launch of 2016 with Gramercy Pictures opening horror project “The Forest” in 2,450 theaters in North America. The film, which carries a PG-13 rating, 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 Natalie Dormer, investigating the disappearance of her twin sister in the legendary Aokigahara Forest at the base of Mount Fuji.

Jason Zada directed “The Forest” from a screenplay by Nick Antosca, Ben Ketai and Sarah Cornwell. Producers are David S. Goyer, David Linde and Tory Metzger.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens” became the fourth highest-grossing film at the worldwide box office on Monday, speeding past “Furious 7″ and “Marvel’s The Avengers” to $1.54 billion worldwide. It should top the “Avatar” domestic record of $760.5 million on Wednesday.

“The Force Awakens” has earned $786.1 million at international markets in the 20 days since its Dec. 16 launch. That total should see a major boost on Saturday, when it opens in China — where the top U.S. opening weekend has been “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” at $156.3 million in May.

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