Leonardo DiCaprio's Revenant climbs to box-office lead after Oscar nominations

Cinema still from the movie The Revenant.
Cinema still from the movie The Revenant. PHOTO: TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX

LOS ANGELES (BLOOMBERG) - The Revenant, the Oscar-nominated frontier drama starring Leonardo DiCaprio, climbed to the top of the domestic box office in its fifth weekend, beating out several new releases as a blizzard on the East Coast kept people away from cinemas.

The 20th Century Fox movie, which garnered a dozen nominations, including for Best Picture and Actor, collected US$16 million (S$23 million) in American and Canadian cinemas, Rentrak said in an e-mailed statement on Sunday (Jan 24). Dirty Grandpa, The Boy, and The 5th Wave landed in fourth, fifth, and sixth place respectively.

The jump to No. 1 underscored the ticket-selling power of Oscar nominations, which The Revenant leads this year. That is especially helpful for the artsy, less-commercial films that vie for awards and often struggle to attract fans. The Revenant, while critically acclaimed, cost US$135 million to make yet lacks the wide appeal of a Hollywood blockbuster. It had taken in US$160.5 million in worldwide ticket sales up to Jan 20.

The Boy is a horror thriller from start-up studio STX Entertainment and was one of three new wide releases last weekend. The film opened with sales of US$11.3 million, missing BoxOffice.com's forecast of US$11.8 million.

Lauren Cohan (from The Walking Dead) plays Greta Evans, a young American who takes a job as a nanny in a remote English village, only to discover that the family's eight-year-old is a life-size doll. Disturbing events lead Evans to believe that the doll is alive.

Dirty Grandpa, with Robert De Niro, opened with weekend sales of US$11.5 million, according to Rentrak. That beat a forecast of US$10.8 million from BoxOffice.com. De Niro plays Dick, a bereaved grandfather on spring break with his grandson Jason, played by Zac Efron.

The film, produced and distributed by Lions Gate Entertainment, was slammed by critics, with just 6 per cent giving it a thumbs up at Rotten Tomatoes, a website that aggregates reviews.

Sony's The 5th Wave, the third new release of the week, collected US$10.7 million on its weekend debut, matching BoxOffice.com's forecast.

Chloe Grace Moretz plays Cassie Sullivan in this dystopian thriller based on the novels of Rick Yancey. Sullivan is trying to save her younger brother after four waves of deadly alien attacks on Earth. As she prepares for the fifth wave, she teams up with a young man who may become her final hope.

Among returning films, Star Wars: The Force Awakens placed second with US$14.3 million at the box office for Walt Disney.

Ride Along 2, the Universal Pictures comedy, placed third with US$13 million in ticket sales.