Pete Berg’s gritty combat drama Lone Survivor accomplished its mission at the box office this weekend. The film, based on the true story of former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, grossed $38.5 million over the Friday-to-Sunday period, marking the second best January debut of all time after Cloverfield‘s $40.1 million bow in 2008. Audiences, which were 57 percent male and 57 percent 30 or older, issued Lone Survivor a rare “A+” CinemaScore grade, suggesting that Universal’s $40 million film will benefit from terrific word-of-mouth in the weeks to come.
Lone Survivor‘s success marks a major comeback for director Berg, whose last film, Battleship, opened to just $25 million against a whopping $209 million budget. Like that film, Lone also stars Friday Night Lights‘ Taylor Kitsch, though it was marketed primarily on the star power of its leading man, Mark Wahlberg. The Boston-born star has grown into a reliable box office draw, so its doubly impressive that Lone Survivor is one of his best-ever opening weekend results, trailing only 2012′s Ted, which started with $54.4 million. The film is a major win for all parties involved. READ FULL STORY