“Box office experts” seem to be every bit as surprised by pro-military media hits as economists are when the Obama economy tanks. Which is to say, if they really knew anything they wouldn’t be surprised at all. Moviefone:

When “Lone Survivor” expanded from limited release to 2,875 theaters this weekend, box office experts didn’t expect much. “Zero Dark Thirty” aside, movies about the fighting in Afghanistan haven’t done very well. Predictions ranged from $17 million to $27 million — nothing that would upset the annual January doldrums. So everyone was taken by surprise with the movie opened wide with an estimated $38.5 million. That’s the biggest January debut for any movie since “Cloverfield” earned $40 million in 2008.

Lone Survivor, the book, was a runaway bestseller when it debuted in 2007. So the movie comes to the big screen with a built-in audience. Marcus Lutrell, the SEAL who survived the ordeal and wrote the book, has become a household name, at least on the right, for his philanthropy and his life after the military. He’s making himself count. That Lone Survivor the movie would do well is a no-brainer. What media critics tend to deride as “jingoistic,” millions of mainstream Americans tend to see as patriotic and worth a few bucks to see and support.

I haven’t seen it yet but hope to before long. Have you seen it? What do you think?