erik lundegaard

Movies - Box Office posts

Sunday February 22, 2015

Box Office: 'Fifty Shades' Goes Down

Fifty Shades of Grey

Three new movies opened this weekend, grossing $11 million (“McFarland, USA”—nice '70s-era title), $11 million (“The DUFF”), and $5.8 million (“Hot Tub Time Machine 2”). The less said about this last the better, other than the usual “ad wizards” talk. Was any sequel less wanted? Clamored for nowhere?

As a result, the top three spots remained unchanged: 1) “Fifty Shades of Grey” with $23 (down 72.7%), 2) “Kingsman” at $17 (down 51%) and 3) “SpongeBob” at $15 (down 50%).

That 72.7% second-weekend drop for “Fifty Shades,” btw, is the 39th-biggest drop ever. If you discount movies that opened in fewer than 2,000 theaters, it's the 11th-biggest drop ever. For movies in more than 3,000 theaters? Tied for second worst. Only the 2009 “Friday the 13th” remake dropped faster (80.4%). The aptly named “Doom,” from 2005, dropped at the same rate as “Fifty Shades,” and it had the aptly named “Rock” to accompany its fall. Apparently we're done with Mr. Grey now. It was all over so fast, wasn't it?

Among the Oscar nominees, “American Sniper” grossed another $9.6 for a $319 domestic gross and a $406 worldwide gross, while “The Imitation Game” pulled in $2.5 for $83 domestic gross and $160 worldwide. More on Oscar box office in a moment. 

As for what should win the box-office headline sweepstakes this weekend?

  • “Fifty Shades” Goes Down
  • “Fifty Shades” Drops To Its Knees
  • “Fifty Shades” Shoots Wad
  • You Won't See Mr. Grey Now

You have my pick. 

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Posted at 09:39 AM on Feb 22, 2015 in category Movies - Box Office
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Sunday February 15, 2015

Box Office: 'Fifty Shades of Grey' Earns 81 Million in Green

Fifty Shades of Grey

Money shot.

Remind me never to become the head of a movie studio.

I assumed nothing much would happen with Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper” and it blew away all competition. This weekend, on only its 31st day of wide release, it earned another $16 million to pass the $300 million mark. The current No. 1 movie of 2014, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 1,” took 36 days to reach that mark, so unless “Sniper” stumbles badly near the finish, it will soon take over that mantle. I’m guessing before the end of the month.

I also assumed “Fifty Shades of Grey,” the movie based upon the scandalous (or scandalously written) novel, wouldn’t do much business. Soft porn is all well and fine when it’s on your Kindle, but showing up in theaters for it? I could imagine the movie bombing after all that hype. 

Instead, it’s grossed $81 million over three days, which is the second-highest-grossing February release ever, after “The Passion of the Christ” ($83 million in 2004)—with which, you could say, it shares certain thematic elements: bondage, whipping, a hint of redemption. So studio heads take note. Maybe this will be our regular February fare in the future.

The other wide-release opener, “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” a kind of teenage James Bond reimagined through a “Mad Men” lens, grossed $35 million in 3,204 theaters to finish second. The second weekend of “SpongeBob” finished third, with $30 million. “Sniper” was fourth, while “Jupiter Ascending” continued to descend, grossing $9 million for a total gross of $32.

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Posted at 11:09 AM on Feb 15, 2015 in category Movies - Box Office
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Sunday February 08, 2015

Box Office: 'SpongeBob' Soaks It in; 'Sniper' Has Plenty of Bullets Left

The new SpongeBob movie, “Sponge Out of Water,” won the weekend with a $56 million haul, which is the 25th-biggest opening for an animated feature, and the fifth-biggest opening for any February release, but the story continues to be Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper.” It fell only 21%, grossed another $24 million domestic (good for second place), and is now ahead of where 2014’s biggest box office hit, “The Hunger Games—Mockingjay: Part 1” was at the same time during its run. 

Here’s how:

Wknds THG—Mockingjay American Sniper
1st $121 million $89 million
2nd $57 (-53%) $64 (-27%)
3rd $22 (-61%) $30 (-52%)
4th $12 (-42%) $24 (-21%)

“Mockingjay” started out hot and cooled fast. “Sniper” started out less hot but is taking longer to cool. On its 24th day of release, “Mockingjay” stood at $276 million. “Sniper,” on its 24th day of wide release, stands at $282 million. Given these number, it would take a lot for it not to surpass “Mockingjay”’s tally ($335 million and counting) to become the biggest hit of 2014. 

So when was the last time Clint Eastwood had the No. 1 movie for the year? He’s never had the No. 1 movie for the year. Now he’s done it. At age 84.

Elsewhere, the Wachowski’s so-bad-it’s-supposed-to-be-good-but-I-doubt-it sci-fi flick “Jupiter Ascending” managed to ascend to only third place, grossing $19 million. That’s similar to what the Wachowski’s “Speed Racer” did in 2008. “Seventh Son,” another sci-fi fantasy flick that managed even worse reviews (10% on RT, to “Jupiter”’s 22%), finished in fourth place with $7 million.

Did you make it to the movies this weekend? What did you see? 

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Posted at 10:29 AM on Feb 08, 2015 in category Movies - Box Office
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Sunday February 01, 2015

'American Sniper' Is Still Picking Them Off at the Box Office

American Sniper: No. 1 movie of 2014?

Still on target to be the No. 1 box-office hit of 2014.

Here are the first three weekend box-office totals for “The Hunger Games; Mockingjay—Part 1,” which is currently the No. 1 movie of 2014:

  • $121 million
  • $56 million (-53.3%)
  • $22 million (-61.3%)

Here are the first three wide-release weekend totals for Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper,” which is currently the sixth-highest grossing film of 2014:

  • $89 million
  • $64 million (-27.6%)
  • $31 million (-50.7%)

“THGMP1” opened big, stumbled; “Sniper” opened less big but lost less ground, day to day, andweekend to weekend.

So can “Sniper” over take “Mockingjay” to become the No. 1 movie of 2014? It’s only $10 million behind where “Mockingjay” was after its third weekend ($258 million to $248), so it’s got a real shot. “Mockingjay,” though, got a big boost from the Christmas/holidays season. “Sniper” won’t get that, unless it wins big at the Oscars, or unless folks think of “Sniper” as a nice Valetine’s Day movie. And it’s still about $90 million away ($335 to $248). But the odds right now are in its favor.

I wouldn’t mind. While I think the movie is problematic, it would still be the first serious film to attain that height since “Saving Private Ryan” in 1998. There are issues to discuss with the film that you don’t get from a discussion of “Mockingjay” or “Spider-Man 3” or “Shrek 2.” But is it repeatable? That’s the question for Hollywood. They tried to repeat Mel Gibson’s success with “The Passion of the Christ” (ex: “The Nativity Story”) with less luck ($37 million, as opposed to $370 million). You need more than God and patriotism to propel folks off their couch and into the theaters; you need a sense of outrage. Sadly, for Hollywood, Hollywood is one of the things these folks are outraged about.

For the rest of this Super Bowl weekend, “Paddington,” the kindertransport bear, finished second with $8.505 million, “Project Almanac” (teenaged time-travel/found footage flick) opened to $8.5 million and third place, and the Kevin Costner/Octavia Spencer/“Not without my grandchild” legal drama, “Black or White,” opened to $6.4 million and fourth place.

Rounding out the top 10: J Lo’s “The Boy Next Door” dropped 59% to $6 million, Kevin Hart’s “The Wedding Ringer” grossed another $5.7 million, the Oscar-nominated “The Imitation Game” grossed another $5 million for seventh place, followed by “Taken 3,” “Strange Magic” and “The Loft.”

Are we finally tired of Liam Neeson’s “Taken” movies? The first grossed $145 in 2009, the second $139 in 2012, and this one $81 so far in 2015. Maybe “Sniper” is picking off its audience?

BTW: Michael Mann’s “Blackhat” has been all-but-pulled from theaters after only two weekends: it’s down from 2,568 theaters on Thursday to 236 today. Johnny Depp’s “Mortdecai” fared even worse. It remained in 2,648 theaters and still fell by 66.1% to gross only $1.4 million in its second weekend.

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Posted at 09:57 AM on Feb 01, 2015 in category Movies - Box Office
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Sunday January 25, 2015

Box Office: 'American Sniper' at $200 Million, Sets Sights on Katniss and Biggest Hit of the Year

American Sniper: biggest hit of the year?

Ours is not to reason why; ours is but to buy and buy.

We’ve been asking the wrong question with “American Sniper.” Instead of asking “Can it win best picture?” we should be asking, “Can it be the biggest box office hit of 2014”?

This weekend, Eastwood’s superpatriotic flick dropped only 27.9% for a $64 million haul. That’s the 8th-best second weekend (or “second” weekend, since “AS” opened in four theaters in late December) in movie history, behind such movies as “The Avengers,” “Avatar,” and “The Dark Knight.” In fact, with the exception of “Iron Man 3,” every one of the movies with a better second weekend went on to become the biggest box office hit of its respective year.

According to Box Office Mojo, “American Sniper” is now at $200 million. The No. 1 movie of 2014, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 1,” which just surpassed “The Guardians of the Galaxy,” is at $334 million. By its second weekend, “THGMP1” was at $225 million, but it had fallen by 53%, then fell another 61% in the third weekend. So if “American Sniper” can keep from falling at those levels, it'll do it. 

Pretty stunning. I didn’t think “AS” would do $50 million and now it’s going to be the biggest hit of Clint Eastwood’s career. Actually it already is. Some day I’d like to read how Warner Bros. handled the rollout strategy. There’s a story there beyond showing people what they want to see.

I should be happy about this, by the way. A serious film will be the biggest hit of the year! When was the last time that happened? Something, in other words, that isn’t superheroes or cartoons or sci-fi fantasy? You’d have to go back all the way to 1998 when another war film, Steven Spielberg’s “Saving Private Ryan,” was the biggest hit of the year.

So I should be happy. Except how serious is “American Sniper”? I’d argue that it overlays a reductive Hollywood formula upon our most serious subject: the war on terror. I’d argue it’s doing as well as it is because it’s giving people the Iraq War they (and Pres. Bush) always imagined they’d fight, rather than the complicated one we wound up fighting. In “Saving Private Ryan,” one of the characters ironically recites Tennyson: “Ours is not to reason why, ours is but to do and die,” but in “American Sniper” that’s actually the movie—unironically. “American Sniper” doesn’t reason why. (My review here.)

Even so, what a fascinating few weeks at the box office. You can’t tell me Clint Eastwood isn’t hanging somewhere grinning over this. His late entry has stirred the pot again.

In other box office news, Jennifer Lopez had her best opening since “Monster in Law” in 2005, as “The Boy Next Door” (hot sex leads to stalking, per Hollywood) opened to $15 million and second place. The George Lucas-written cartoon “Strange Magic” had none, managing only $5 million in 3,020 theaters, while Johnny Depp’s latest foppish adventure, “Mortdecai,” flopped, grossing just $4 million. His reign is over.

Eastwood’s continues. 

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Posted at 09:35 AM on Jan 25, 2015 in category Movies - Box Office
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