erik lundegaard

'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 Sun. Feb 01, 2015 in category Movies - Box Office  

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