Box office report: ‘American Sniper’ wins again

25 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘American Sniper’ continues box office dominance.

The Navy SEAL drama — reviled by Michael Moore and Bill Maher, adored by critics and audiences — topped the box office for a second weekend in a row with $64.4 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper” continued its box office dominance this weekend, picking up $64.4 million and steamrolling over everything in sight, including Johnny Depp. Depp’s latest exercise in cinematic oddities, “Mortdecai,” left audiences cold, earning a paltry $4.1 million across 2,648 locations and coming in ninth on box office charts. 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 at ninth with $4.1 million.

Sniper got tons of coverage in the press this past week thanks to its astounding opening weekend, something that surely drove viewers to theaters to see what the fuss is all about. It’s an embarrassing performance for a star of his caliber and comes on the heels of box office disasters such as “The Lone Ranger” and “Transcendence.” “Mortdecai” cost $60 million to make and was backed by OddLot Entertainment and released by Lionsgate. 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.

American Sniper‘s box office success is a telling example of how any press is good press: The film has been surrounded by a fair amount of controversy related to its political stance, and on a less serious note, was the subject of quite a bit of mockery after viewers pointed out a scene involving a fake baby that soon went viral. The animated film was produced by Lucasfilm, centers on goblins and elves and was inherited by the Mouse House as part of its 2012 purchase of George Lucas’ company. Robert Abele described the film in a review for the Los Angeles Times as “breathless, uninspired January junk that feels like the iffiest bits of a Lifetime movie and late-night cable schlock slapped together. (And not erotically.)” “Mortdecai,” starring Depp, Gwyneth Paltrow and Ewan McGregor, fared equally badly with critics. Much of the Sunday afternoon box office quarterbacking will center on Depp’s deflating career, but “American Sniper’s” endurance was the true stunner. The critically liked film (it currently has a 98 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) ended up in the number three spot with $12.4 million, beating out fellow family-friendly film Strange Magic, which opened wide this weekend with a comparatively weak $5.5 million.

As Forbes points out, before “American Sniper” just did it, only “Avatar” and “The Incredibles” have dropped less than 30% off of opening weekends of over $70 million. Its debut placed behind The Weinstein Co.’s “Paddington,” which added $12.4 million in its second weekend, and “The Wedding Ringer,” the Kevin Hart comedy from Sony, which took in $11.6 million, also in its second weekend. The Wedding Ringer and Taken 3—films in their second and third weeks, respectively–rounded out the top five, showing that just because a movie’s new doesn’t mean it’s going to make bank.

The picture, written and executive produced by founder George Lucas, was directed by Gary Rydstrom, with voices from Evan Rachel Wood and Elijah Kelley among others for a cast of goblins, elves, fairies and imps. The Weinstein Company’s “The Imitation Game” officially became the top-grossing indie release, passing “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” It earned $7.1 million pushing its total to over $60 million. The madcap, fairy tale musical inspired by William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” had been forecast to collect $5.3 million by The new thriller Black Sea, starring Jude Law made $35,000 in five theaters while Song One, a drama starring Anne Hathaway, opened in 27 locations with $23,800. The film about a woman with chronic pain had been expected to snag star Jennifer Aniston an Oscar nomination, but was shut out by Academy Awards voters.

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