Sniper Dominates MLK Weekend; Blackhat Bombs Ugly
By John Hamann
January 18, 2015
The Wedding Ringer is going to match its budget over its first four days and will likely be profitable before it goes overseas. However, Kevin Hart films have the same problems as American war films – Ride Along may have earned $135 million stateside, but tallied only $19 million from international venues.
Third spot goes to Paddington, the extremely well reviewed kids' flick imported from Britain. Picked up for release in the United States by The Weinstein Company, there wasn’t a huge marketing push for this one, but it still found success. Paddington took in $19.3 million from 3,303 venues, a solid start for a film with an A Cinemascore and a 98% fresh rating, but very little built-in audience like it had in Europe. Made for a relatively cheap $55 million by Europe’s Studio Canal, Paddington already had the success it needed over there, earning $122.2 overseas, including $50 million alone from the United Kingdom.
Given the critical and Cinemascore success it has seen, Paddington could still see some solid legs stateside. It has to compete with Lucasfilm’s Strange Music next weekend, but I think we all know how that’s going to go, so there is no competition until SpongeBob SquarePants shows up on February 6th. I will be extremely interested to see how this one performs next week, whether it has legs, or if those who wanted to see it took it in this weekend.
That pushes Taken 3 all the way down to fourth after its $39.2 million open last weekend. The threequel earned a surprisingly soft $14.1 million in its second frame, giving it a serious 64% plunge in weekend two. Obviously, the audience for Taken 3 turned heel and went to American Sniper, leaving the Liam Neeson actioner in the dirt. It is still all coming up roses for Fox and Liam Neeson, though, as Taken 3 has now earned $62.8 million stateside and more than $65 million overseas, all against a $48 million budget.
Fifth is Selma, and after an $11.3 million expansion last weekend, the film gets pushed to the middle of the pack this weekend. Still, it doesn’t lose a huge percentage of its audience, despite receiving only two Oscar nominations. In its second weekend of wide release, Selma earned $8.3 million over three days, off 27% compared to last weekend. I expect it to finish the long weekend strongly tomorrow but for now, the $20 million Paramount release has pulled in $26 million. In my mind, this has to be somewhat of a disappointment for Paramount, as I expected six to eight Oscar nominations and a bigger weekend this frame than last.
The Imitation Game manages to drop only one spot this weekend, as it turned eight Oscar nominations into an impressive hold despite The Weinstein Company adding only 45 screens. The Benedict Cumberbatch starrer earned another $7.2 million this weekend, dropping only .3% in the process. The Imitation Game cost only $14 million to make and has earned $50.8 million domestically, along with another $41 million overseas. The Weinstein Company has been wise in their release strategy here, as the current venue count leaves it room to grow as its date with Oscar approaches.