Scott Cooper's gritty thriller Out of the Furnace is having trouble igniting interest at the North American box office despite its strong ensemble cast, led by Christian Bale, Woody Harrelson and Casey Affleck.
Out of the Furnace -- set in Pennsylvania's Rust Belt and earning a problematic C+ CinemaScore -- took in an estimated $1.9 million Friday to come in No. 3 behind holdovers The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and animated entry Frozen. For the weekend, Out of the Furnace may have trouble hitting $6 million, marking the worst opening for a Bale film debuting in more than 2,000 theaters.
A winter storm moving its way up the Ohio Valley is hindering moviegoing on what's already one of the slowest weekends of the year as consumers recover from Thanksgiving.
Receiving generally good to mixed reviews, Out of the Furnace cost $22 million to make, minimizing Relativity's financial risk (Red Granite was Relativity's partner on the project). The thriller stars Bale as a blue-collar worker in Pennsylvania who must rescue his brother (Affleck), an Iraq War veteran caught up with a ruthless crime ring. Forest Whitaker, Willem Dafoe, Zoe Saldana and Sam Shepard also star. Cooper (Crazy Heart) wrote the script with Brad Ingelsby.
Scott and DiCaprio, via his company Appian Way, produced Out of the Furnace alongside Jennifer Davisson Killoran, Relativity chief Ryan Kavanaugh and Michael Costigan.
Elsewhere, Catching Fire and Frozen are in a close fight for No. 1, with each expected to earn in the $28 million range for the weekend (many are giving Frozen a slight edge).
Lionsgate's Catching Fire topped its third Friday with an estimated $7.7 million, putting its domestic total at $317.4 million.
Frozen, a sizeable victory for Walt Disney Animation Studios title, grossed $6.8 million Friday for a North American total of $109.5 million. The family film, opening over Thanksgiving, is expected to catch up with Catching Fire on Saturday.
At the specialty box office, Joel and Ethan Coen's latest outing, Inside Llewyn Davis, is doing sizeable business as it opens in four theaters in New York and Los Angeles. The film, named best picture earlier this week at the Gotham Awards, could end the weekend with a theater average north of $87,000, the best showing in months for a specialty title.
Produced by Scott Rudin, Inside Llewyn Davis stars Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake, John Goodman and Garrett Hedlund.
Among holdovers, biopic Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom saw a relatively small dip on its second Friday, one day after Nelson Mandela died in South Africa. From The Weinstein Co., Mandela is playing in four theaters in New York and Los Angeles and stars Idris Elba as the iconic civil rights leader.