Weekend Wrap-Up

American Sniper Downs Johnny Depp and George Lucas (at the Box Office)

By John Hamann

January 25, 2015

He really ought to be happier about the weekend.

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The Boy Next Door was front-loaded on Friday, but did earn a weekend multiplier of 2.6, giving it a weekend take of $15 million, or just short of four times its production budget. For Jennifer Lopez, this is her best opening since Monster In-Law, which debuted to $23.1 million in May 2005. Lopez has struggled finding successful films since that, but her movie career may see a boost from the fact that she opened a film to double digits. The Boy Next Door is 13% fresh at RottenTomatoes (which, believe it or not, is the top score amongst openers). It earned a B- Cinemascore and will fall into the discount bin at Target shortly. However, for the king of the low-budget release, Jason Blum, this is another win on his resume.

Third goes to Paddington, released in the US by the Weinstein/Dimension combo. Paddington did okay this weekend, keeping in mind that we are coming off of a long weekend where Sundays are inflated, because there is no school for most on the Monday. After debuting to $19 million last weekend, Paddington held decently considering, earning $12.4 million and dropping 35%. As we discussed last weekend, the North American release for the British kids flick is almost unnecessary, as it has earned $130 million overseas (including $52 million from the UK alone), all against a $55 million budget. Add $40.1 million from North America so far, and Studio Canal has a decent sized hit on its hands - and a potential franchise. Now that it has pushed Strange Magic to the side, it has a weekend free to itself before SpongeBob Square Pants arrives on February 6th.

The Wedding Ringer drops to fourth and sees a deeper drop than that of Paddington. The Kevin Hart starrer earned another $11.6 million as it fell 44%. Made for a slim $23 million, The Wedding Ringer will do okay domestically. It is almost assured to cross the $50 million mark stateside. Currently, the Screen Gems release has pulled in $40 million. Next up for Hart is the March release Get Hard, co-starring Will Ferrell.

Landing in fifth is Taken 3, which has virtually imploded after its unexpected $39.2 million opening. Last weekend, the Liam Neeson starrer fell 63% to $14.7 million, and things don’t get any better this weekend. In its third frame, Taken 3 earned only $7.6 million and had another wild drop of 48%. Normally, when a film opens close to $40 million, a $100 million plus finish is virtually guaranteed, but not with Taken 3. The $48 million Fox/Europa release looks like it will top out with about $90 million, but away from North America, the thriller has already eclipsed the $100 million mark.

The Imitation Game is sixth for the third straight weekend, as word-of-mouth, Oscar nominations and additional theaters have kept this one thriving. This weekend, the Benedict Cumberbatch starrer earned another $7.1 million, increasing 5% compared to last weekend. The Weinstein Company flick has brought its domestic total up to $60.6 million, and the overseas take has now eclipsed the $50 million mark as well.

Seventh is Strange Magic, the weird movie from LucasFilm, written and produced by George Lucas himself. Strange Magic is an out and out flop, recording a weekend gross of only $5.5 million. It shouldn’t be too much a surprise, as it was only 11% fresh, and earned a B- Cinemascore. Budget data was not released, but a number around $50 million has to be expected. This one will be lucky to make $10 million, and will be forgotten quickly.


Selma is eighth this weekend, as being in the post MLK frame is like standing in a shadow. Selma took in $5.5 million this weekend, off 37% from last weekend, where it earned $8.8 million over three days and a remarkable $13.9 million over four. The $20 million release distributed by Paramount has now brought its total up to $39.2 million.

Ninth is Mortdecai, another new release flop. With a cast that includes Johnny Depp, Ewan McGregor, Gwyneth Paltrow, Paul Bettany and Olivia Munn, this eccentric comedy should have been able to open to $10 million, but failed to do that despite a strong marketing campaign. Instead, it earned just $4.1 million from its 2,648 venues.

Why? Mortdecai is 12% fresh at RottenTomatoes and earned a C+ Cinemascore – about the lowest score a comedy can earn. One does not have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that Mortdecai was going to flop this weekend. Whoever thought a farce should have a $60 million budget should be banned from greenlighting films, as I highly doubt that overseas audiences are going to bail this one out.

Tenth goes to Into the Woods, which is now in its fifth weekend. The musical earned another $3.9 million this weekend and fell 43%. The $50 million Disney release has now pulled in $121.5 million stateside and has picked up another $26 million from overseas theaters.

Jennifer Aniston’s Cake didn’t have much impact on the box office this weekend. The small film opened in 492 venues, and without an Oscar nomination for Aniston, earned only $1 million.

Overall, thanks almost entirely to American Sniper, the box office has its third "up weekend" versus last year already. This weekend, the top 12 films in release earned $142 million, which compares positively last year when the top 12 films earned $97.9 million as I, Frankenstein flopped. Next weekend, openers include Project Almanac from producer Michael Bay, Kevin Costner’s Black or White, and Open Road's The Loft. It is almost a no-brainer that American Sniper will be number one again.

Top Ten for Weekend of January 23-25, 2015
Estimated Gross
Weekly Change
Running Total
1 American Sniper Warner Bros. 64,365,000 -28% 200,137,000
2 The Boy Next Door Universal 15,001,000 New 15,001,000
3 Paddington The Weinstein Co. 12,391,000 -35% 40,062,000
4 The Wedding Ringer Screen Gems 11,600,000 -44% 39,677,000
5 Taken 3 20th Century Fox 7,600,000 -48% 76,051,000
6 The Imitation Game The Weinstein Co. 7,136,000 +5% 60,642,000
7 Strange Magic Walt Disney 5,534,000 New 5,534,000
8 Selma Paramount Pictures 5,500,000 -37% 39,200,000
9 Mortdecai Lionsgate 4,125,000 New 4,125,000
10 Into the Woods Walt Disney 3,886,000 -43% 121,494,000
11 The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Warner Bros. 2,805,000 -43% 249,576,000
12 Unbroken Universal 2,056,000 -51% 112,421,000
Birdman Fox Searchlight 1,915,000 +24% 30,913,000
The Theory of Everything Focus Features 1,300,000 +34% 29,093,000
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 Lionsgate 1,045,000 -44% 334,330,000
Cake Cinelou Films 1,003,000 New 1,003,000
Wild Fox Searchlight 946,000 -35% 34,709,000
Whiplash Sony Pictures Classics 787,000 +114% 7,600,000
Big Hero 6 Walt Disney 676,000 -37% 217,448,000
Foxcatcher Sony Pictures Classics 581,000 -41% 10,985,000
A Most Violent Year A24 456,000 +61% 1,354,000
Still Alice Sony Pictures Classics 411,000 +109% 715,000
Inherent Vice Warner Bros 400,000 -65% 7,419,000
Interstellar Paramount 340,000 -38% 186,355,000
Big Eyes The Weinstein Co. 228,000 -57% 14,006,000
Boyhood IFC 197,000 -19% 24,919,000
Mr. Turner Sony Pictures Classics 162,000 -10% 1,851,000
Two Days, One Night IFC 114,000 -3% 424,000
Nightcrawler Open Road Films 78,900 +74% 32,281,000
Leviathan Sony Pictures Classics 72,400 +91% 272,100
Black Sea Focus Features 35,000 New 35,000
Citizenfour Radius-TWC 28,100 -37% 2,472,000
Song One The Film Arcade 23,800 New 23,800
Mommy Roadside Attractions 21,000 New 21,000
Red Army Sony Pictures Classics 20,100 New 20,100
The Duke of Burgundy IFC 13,000 New 13,000

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