‘American Sniper’ rules weekend box office again

25 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

American Sniper Shoots Down Records as Johnny Depp Flops.

That’s about 50 times more than Johnny Depp’s critically mauled comedy Mortdecai managed to rake in at the box office in its opening weekend, with a humbling $4 million in domestic returns.An Arab-American civil rights group has said that the release of the film American Sniper has caused an increase in threats against Muslims in America.Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper remained a phenomenon in its second weekend, earning a stunning $64.4 million and quickly becoming the No. 2 war film of all time at the North American box office, not accounting for inflation.

The Bradley Cooper movie about U.S. solider Chris Kyle fell only 28% from its debut, a remarkable hold for a film that was already surpassing expectations in Hollywood. “Sniper,” nominated for six Oscars including best picture, set numerous records when it grossed $107 million over the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend. The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) has written to lead actor Bradley Cooper and director Clint Eastwood, asking them to speak out ‘in an effort to help reduce the hateful rhetoric’. Among new releases, the Jennifer Lopez-led thriller “The Boy Next Door” placed second with $15 million in sales, while Depp’s “Mortdecai” checked in with $4.1 million. But the ADC has said ‘a majority of the violent threats we have seen over the past few days are a result of how Arab and Muslims are depicted in American Sniper’. That was below returnees “Paddington,” “The Wedding Ringer” and “Taken 3,” and another newcomer, “Strange Magic.” Eastwood’s latest film, starring Bradley Cooper, has been bolstered by the Oscars attention, including a best-picture nomination, and a Warner Bros. marketing plan that positioned “American Sniper” to appeal to both red- and blue-state crowds.

Critics haven’t been quite so kind to Mortdecai. “It’s hard to think of a way in which the experience of watching the new Johnny Depp film could be any worse, unless you returned home afterwards to discover that Depp himself had popped round while you were out and set fire to your house,” wrote The Telegraph‘s Robbie Collin. The group has also said that it had collected ‘hundreds of violent messages targeting Arab and Muslim Americans from movie-goers’, from Facebook and Twitter. After five weekends, “American Sniper” has collected $200.1 million in North American ticket sales, an amount that Burbank, California based Warner Bros., the studio owned by Time Warner Inc. (TWX:US), shares with theater chains.

Taking inflation into account, Private Ryan would earned more than $300 million by today’s terms; Sniper is sure to eclipse that number when all is said and done. He wrote: ‘Your visibility, influence, and connection to the film would be a tremendous force in drawing attention to and lessening the serious dangers facing the respective communities’. However, Jack Horner, a spokesman for Warner Bros film studio, who released the film, told Reuters news agency that the studio ‘denounces any violent, anti-Muslim rhetoric, including that which has been attributed to viewers’.

At the other end of the spectrum, Johnny Depp’s newest film, Mortdecai, tanked in its domestic launch, earning an estimated $4.1 million, the actor’s worst opening in the post-Pirates era. Moreover, it’s his third big-budget dud after Transcendence and The Lone Ranger (he does have a small role in box-office win Into the Woods, now in theaters), and is his lowest nationwide launch since The Astronaut’s Wife ($4 million) 15 years ago.

Lionsgate and OddLot Entertainment had high hopes for the movie, directed by David Koepp and starring Depp as a debonair art dealer and part-time rogue who races to recover a stolen painting rumored to contain the code to a lost bank account filled with Nazi gold. Gwyneth Paltrow, Ewan McGregor, Olivia Munn, Jeff Goldblum and Paul Bettany also star in the film adaptation of Kyril Bonfiglioli’s novel Don’t Point That Thing at Me. Depp’s film lost handily to an unlikely competitor — Jennifer Lopez, whose The Boy Next Door, a psychological thriller starring Jennifer Lopez and Ryan Guzman. Also opening this weekend is the George Lucas-produced Strange Magic, an animated family film that’s looking at a disappointing $5.5 million launch for a seventh-place finish. From a story by Lucas, Strange Magic is an animated romp set in a whimsical land of potions, goblins and fairies that’s loosely inspired by William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

The movie was already in the works when Disney swooped in and bought Lucasfilm in 2012, but Strange Magic was kept on the QT until last fall, when Disney announced a Jan. 23 release. The voice cast includes Evan Rachel Wood, Alan Cumming, Kristin Chenoweth, Maya Rudolph, Sam Palladio, Meredith Anne Bull, Alfred Molina and Elijah Kelley, who sing new versions of pop and classic rock songs. Back in the top 10, British family film Paddington remained the family offering of choice ahead of Strange Magic and placed No. 3 with $12.4 million, falling only 35 percent.

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