Launching into wide release yesterday was Fox's The Revenant, and early returns are excellent as it's the first movie to unseat Star Wars: The Force Awakens from first place on the daily chart. The strongly buzzed-about film from Oscar-winning Birdman director Alejandro González Iñárritu earned an estimated $14.4 million on Friday following an excellent $1.56 million two-week platform in four theaters. That's on par with 2014's Lone Survivor, which also pulled a $14.4 million opening day in wide release after a strong limited run over the holidays. Revenant did earn a bit more of its cash on Thursday night compared to that film ($2.3 million versus $1.5 million), so it's possible the weekend will be slightly more front-loaded for Revenant. That said, continuing awards buzz, raves for Leonardo DiCaprio's master performance, very positive word of mouth (87 percent on Flixster) and reviews (81 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), and the big screen scope of the film are expected to drive it in the long run. Look for a weekend around $36.5 million (which should put it behind Star Wars for the overall frame) and healthy legs thereafter.
Disney reports that Star Wars: The Force Awakens earned another $10.76 million in second place on Friday, bringing its record-breaking North American total up to $781.14 million through 22 days of release. The blockbuster phenom was off around 68 percent from New Year's Day last Friday, continuing to follow the day-to-day pattern of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King a bit more closely (it dropped 65 percent from Friday, January 2 to January 9, 2004). On track to become the first film in history to topple the $800 million domestic benchmark sometime on Sunday, The Force Awakens is eyeing a fourth straight weekend first place finish with around $41 million.
The Forest debuted with a decent $4.975 million opening on Friday, generally matching pre-release expectations. The film, reportedly shot for around $10 million, isn't generating positive buzz though with weak scores of 37 percent on Flixster and 13 percent among RT critics. An overall opening weekend around $11.9 million.
Meanwhile, Daddy's Home tacked on another $4.2 million yesterday for a new total of $105.5 million as it eyes a $14.2 million weekend. Sisters rounded out the top five with $2.26 million on Friday, bringing its take up to $69.97 million as it heads toward $7.2 million this weekend.