LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - The force was strong with Leonardo DiCaprio, but not quite strong enough to dethrone “Star Wars” from its perch atop box office charts.
Throughout the weekend, “The Force Awakens” was locked in a pitched battle with “The Revenant” for first place, but as the dust settled on Sunday, the “Star Wars” sequel had managed to retain its crown for the fourth straight weekend, picking up $41.6 million in receipts. That brings the space opera’s stateside haul to $812 million, making it the first film to ever cross $800 million domestically.
“The Revenant” still had much to celebrate. The revenge drama about a fur trapper whose quest for vengeance finds him braving roaring rapids, dodging hostile Native American tribes, and disemboweling a dead horse, became an unlikely box office winner. The film, which is expected to land DiCaprio in the Oscar race, pulled in a sterling $38 million in its wide release debut.
Directed by Alejandro G. Inarritu, Fox bowed the bloody thriller across 3,375 locations. The hugely complicated shoot was a production nightmare, with the film’s budget ballooning from $90 million to $135 million and the cast and crew being forced to decamp from Canada to Argentina in search of snow. Despite the challenges, the film exceeded projections, which had it opening to around $20 million. The film drew an audience that was 57% male and 73% over the age of 25.
“Quality prevails,” said Chris Aronson, Fox’s domestic distribution chief. “This is a real, reality-based film drawn from true events. It’s a motion picture that was made in the most arduous of circumstances and the end result is just a fantastic achievement.”
Combined with its grosses from the two weeks it spent in limited release, “The Revenant” has now made $39.5 million.
Paramount’s “Daddy’s Home,” a comedy about a step-father (Will Ferrell) locked in a fierce battle with his wife’s first husband (Mark Wahlberg) for her kid’s affections, took third place with $15 million. It has made $116.3 million since debuting over Christmas.
Focus Features opened thriller “The Forest,” starring Natalie Dormer and Taylor Kinney, in 2,451 locations, where it grossed $13.1 million for a fourth place finish. The film centers on a young American woman who travels to Japan to find her sister.
Universal’s “Sisters” rounded out the top five, earning $7.2 million. The Amy Poehler and Tina Fey comedy about a pair of siblings suffering from arrested development has racked up $73.9 million.
Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight” dropped a steep 60% from its wide release bow despite adding 464 theaters. The revisionist Western from the Weinstein Company picked up $6.4 million, bringing its total to $41.5 million.
Paramount’s “The Big Short” made $6.3 million. The financial crisis comedy with Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale, and Steve Carell has earned $42.8 million.