(Corrects spelling of Ortenberg paragraph 5)
Survival story “The Grey” starring Liam Neeson in a battle against weather and wolves led the box office pack with a better-than-expected $20 million in ticket sales over the weekend.
“The Grey” knocked last weekend’s winner, “Underworld: Awakening,” to second place. The vampire and werewolf sequel starring Kate Beckinsale brought in $12.5 million from Friday through Sunday at domestic theaters, according to studio estimates compiled by Reuters on Sunday.
In “The Grey,” Neeson returns to an action role as a man who leads a team of plane crash survivors who must fight harsh weather and a fierce pack of wolves in the Alaskan wilderness.
The movie played at 3,185 North American (U.S. and Canadian) theaters and earned a per-theater average of $6,279, according to the box office division of Hollywood.com.
Distributor Open Road Films acquired the film for about $5 million and had projected up to $12 million in debut weekend sales. The film beat that forecast because “it doesn’t look like every other movie out there. In a crowded marketplace, I think it’s important to be distinctive,” said Open Road Films CEO Tom Ortenberg.