By Chris Barton
10:25 AM PST, January 11, 2014
The Afghanistan war movie "Lone Survivor" soared past its competition Friday, taking in an estimated $14 million in its first day of wide release.
Starring Mark Wahlberg as Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, who wrote a bestselling firsthand account of a mission gone terribly wrong, the film is on pace surpass expectations based on pre-release audience surveys, which forecast $20 million in earnings this weekend. The film's studio, Universal, was even more conservative in its estimations, predicting $17 million.
Directed by Peter Berg, the film was given a limited release on Christmas Day to qualify for 2013 awards considerations.
"The Legend of Hercules," a newcomer this weekend, didn't fare as well in theaters on Friday, taking in just over $3 million, according to estimates. The numbers place it behind Disney's animated musical "Frozen," which earned an estimated $3.1 million.
The remainder of the top five for Friday was rounded out by a pair of awards contenders. Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street" earned an estimated $2.7 million, while David O. Russell's '70s-steeped "American Hustle" took in roughly $2.5 million. "August Osage County," an adaptation of Tracy Letts' play, expanded to 905 theaters this weekend but failed to crack the top five with an estimated $2.2 million.
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