Blizzard hurts ticket sales across the eastern U.S.
The snowy frontier saga “The Revenant’’ weathered a blizzard-ravaged box office.
Weekend moviegoing was affected up and down the East Coast by Winter Storm Jonas, which forced theater closures in Washington, D.C., and New York, and caused hundreds of theaters to suspend showings. Studio executives said the storm had a major effect on business.
“It had a huge effect on the entire marketplace,’’ said Kevin Grayson, head of domestic distribution for STX Entertainment, which debuted the horror thriller “The Boy.’’ “Anywhere from 300 to 400 theaters were affected.’’
Fittingly, the film that most flourished in the frigid winter weather was 20th Century Fox’s Oscar-nominated “Revenant,’’ which took in an estimated $16 million in its third week of wide release. The Alejandro G. Inarritu-directed thriller, set in the 1820s, is proving to be one of Leonardo DiCaprio’s biggest hits, with $119.2 million in North America thus far. It was also the top film internationally over the weekend with $33.8 million.
Disney’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,’’ came in second with $14.3 million in its sixth week of release. “The Force Awakens,’’ with $1.94 billion globally to date, will likely cross $2 billion in the next week.
Last week’s No. 1 movie, the Kevin Hart-Ice Cube comedy “Ride Along 2,’’ dropped steeply in its second week, sliding to third with $13 million for Universal.
Those holdovers were trailed by a trio of new releases: “Dirty Grandpa,’’ “The Boy’’ and “The 5th Wave,’’ which all earned $10 million to $12 million over the weekend.
Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for box-office firm Rentrak, said the storm had an effect, but cautioned against overestimating its impact. “It probably altered the box office 10 or 12 percent overall,’’ he said. “This was never predestined to be an earth-shattering box office weekend, anyway.’’
Lionsgate’s “Dirty Grandpa,’’ starring Robert De Niro and Zac Efron, received some of the harshest reviews of the year. It narrowly edged out the other newcomers with an estimated $11.5 million.
“The Boy,’’ a PG-13 rated supernatural tale that cost only about $10 million to make, earned an estimated $11.3 million. It appealed strongly to Latino moviegoers, which made up 41 percent of the audience, according to STX.