American Sniper Dominates Super Bowl Weekend
By John Hamann
February 1, 2015
Over the remainder of the weekend, American Sniper continued its push toward glory, pulling in a weekend take of $31.9 million. That gives it a drop of 51% compared to last weekend’s monster take of $64.6 million. The total for American Sniper has reached a mind-boggling $248.9 million, just short of the $250 million mark unless actual box office numbers come in a bit higher.
The question now is where American Sniper finishes. The war flick has now enjoyed three weekends with very little competition. That changes next weekend, as Jupiter Ascending and Seventh Son will take over any IMAX theaters, and The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water will gobble up the large venues across the country. These new entries into the marketplace will make it more difficult for American Sniper to hold onto its dominance.
The following weekend brings Kingsman: The Secret Service, an action-oriented, R-rated flick that looks like it may receive excellent reviews and word-of-mouth. Given the competition coming, I am going to predict that American Sniper will finish with around $330 million, which would put it into the top 35 domestic releases of all-time. Add to that the $50 million it has made overseas so far, and Warner Bros. has an excellent return against its $60 million investment.
Coming in second this weekend (much like the New England Patriots) is Paddington, the now three-weekend-old kids’ flick, which really shows the lack of drawing power from the openers. The Brit-kids-flick earned another $8.5 million, off a not bad 31% compared to the previous weekend. Paddington has struck a chord in North America, having earned $50.5 million away from home, padding its $146 million overseas gross. Paddington could hit $70 million stateside, and the worldwide gross should be enough to auto-greenlight a sequel.
Third spot goes to Project Almanac, the found footage flick from Paramount. After being delayed for more than a year, Paramount finally found a weekend where they thought it would work like Chronicle did back in 2012. Over that Super Bowl weekend, Chronicle, another found footage sci-fi flick, earned $22 million against the big game. Project Almanac did not find the same success, settling for just $8.5 million from 2,893 venues. It was only 36% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes and earned only a B Cinemascore. The found footage concept is long since dead, but given the shelf life of Almanac, we have the proof of that fact this weekend. Made for $12 million, nobody will get too hurt by this one, even if it taps out with less than $20 million. It will pick up some scraps overseas and through VOD.
Fourth is Black or White, the new film with Kevin Costner and Octavia Spencer. This one has been on my death watch since I read the initial review in December, and after we all watched Costner fail in Draft Day, 3 Days to Kill and the Jack Ryan misstep. Black or White is an even tougher sell with poor reviews, and opened to only $6.5 million this weekend thanks to a rotten rating of 35%, even worse than the found footage Project Almanac. The A- Cinemascore gives it a small hope for legs, but those hopes are small. It wouldn’t need much, as Black or White carries a price tag of only $9 million, putting it in position for a win despite poor reviews and a slow opening weekend.