Having been ushered into select cinemas over Christmas, The Revenant was finally given a wide release on Thursday night where it made a rather impressive start in just a couple of hours.
Want numbers? Well, according to The Wrap, The Revenant grossed $2.3 million from 2,501 screens, which means that it’s on track to match 20th Century Fox’s projected total of somewhere between $20 and $24 million for the weekend.
That's something that the studio will be relieved about since The Revenant ended up costing them substantially more than they originally envisioned. At first Fox planned to spend around $60 million on the ambitious epic. However, things soon spiralled out of control with production and The Revenant ended up costing over double that amount, eventually coming in at around $135 million.
It’s believed that The Revenant will need to make somewhere around $300 million just to break even, which is a total that it could reach thanks to the surroundig Oscar buzz. Alejandro Inarritu’s last film, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance), made an impressive $103.2 million last year, and that was released in October rather than January, where it soon got overwhelmed by The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 and the Christmas slate.
The Revenant now has a pretty clear few weeks to try and amass a hefty total, with horror flick The Forest its only competition this week. Michael Bay’s 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi, the Kevin Hart and Ice Cub led Ride Along 2, Robert De Niro and Zac Efron’s comedy Dirty Grandpa, and Natalie Portman’s Jane Got A Gun are the only other films being released in January that could seduce its audience. Obviously Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight is still sniffing around too.
It’s hard to know the kind of push that the Oscar buzz surrounding Leonardo Di Caprio’s towering performance will give to its box office haul. Obviously, having Leo in the film in the first place means that there is a more mainstream appeal to The Revenant than Birdman – arguably The Wolf Of Wall Street’s $392 million and The Great Gatsby’s $351 million totals were in large part because of him – and interest is certainly going to be increased because of the chatter that this may finally land him an Academy Award for Best Actor.
Without the award or nominations, I’m guessing that it will be enough for The Revenant to break even, especially since people are still probably intrigued by the whole "bear rape" fiasco. But if Leonardo DiCaprio does actually win the Academy Award then you can expect The Revenant to receive a gargantuan push that will probably even tip it over the $400 million mark.
This weekend will be a big indication of Leonardo DiCaprio’s chances of Oscar glory, as the actor has been nominated for a Golden Globe in the category of Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama for his work. Let’s hope he does win, because the talk over his lack of awards recognition became tedious a long time ago.