January 25, 2015

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 1/25/15


AMERICAN SNIPER (Village Roadshow/Warners):  Depending on how one characterizes Titanic, American Sniper is on track to become the #3 or #4 “serious drama” of all time, behind that film, The Passion of the Christ ($370.8M) and Forrest Gump ($330.3M).  Even if this weekend’s studio estimate of $64.4M turns out to have been tinkered with slightly to bring the smash hit to $200.1M today rather than tomorrow, it’s still an astonishing success, down (using the studio’s numbers) a very small 28% from last week’s mammoth opening.  It’s also taken in $47.5M overseas ($17.6M this weekend), where it’s just beginning its run.  Although last night’s Producers Guild awards suggest that this won’t pay off for Sniper with Oscar gold, Warners is no doubt just fine with real gold instead.

OPENINGS:  THE BOY NEXT DOOR (Blumhouse/Universal) occupied the top of a low hill with a purported $15M weekend (that number could certainly slip tomorrow).  It has a low production budget, but it still carries a big-studio marketing campaign with the attendant costs, so profitability isn’t assured.  (It’s barely begun overseas release, with under $1M in 6 markets.)

There’s no doubt about the profitability of the other openings–there won’t be any.  MORTDECAI (Oddlot/Lionsgate) had a $4.2M opening that made it Johnny Depp’s worst in a wide release starring role since The Astronaut’s Wife 16 years ago.  Its $5.2M start in 33 overseas territories suggests that there’s no relief coming internationally either.  STRANGE MAGIC (Lucasfilm/Disney) was an item Disney had to get off its books before the Star Wars mega-vehicles get underway, and with a $5.5M start, it’s due to be forgotten… now.

OTHER HOLDOVERS:  PADDINGTON (Weinstein) held up very nicely, down 35% to a $12.4M weekend and $40.1M US total.  It might make its way to $70M in the US, a fine addition to its $129.5M overseas bounty.  THE WEDDING RINGER (Screen Gems/Sony) is also finding its audience, down a very reasonable 44% to $11.6M, with $39.7M earned so far.  That’s the best 2d weekend hold for any Kevin Hart starring vehicle, and Wedding Ringer might reach $65M.   BLACKHAT (Legendary/Universal) fell deeper into the grave, down 58% to $1.6M and a US total of $7M, plus a sad $4.3M from 30 territories overseas.

TAKEN 3 (Europa/20th) dropped 48% to $7.6M, with $76.1M to date.  Its big business, however, is overseas, where it has $149.9M so far after a $26.3M weekend in 57 territories.  THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES (New Line/MGM/Warners) fell 43% to $2.8M for a $249.6M US total, which now has Armies (barely) behind The Desolation of Smaug, which was at $249.7M at this point in its run.  Internationally, Armies is at $616.9M, hoping to catch up to Smaug‘s $702M after a $49.5M China opening.

The other notable holdovers are the Oscar contenders, several of which expanded for the weekend.  THE IMITATION GAME (Weinstein) increased its theatre count by 20% to 2025, and became the top-grossing indie to open in 2014 by rising 5% for a $7.1M weekend and a $60.6M US total (plus $50.2M overseas).  SELMA (Paramount) lost 10% of its theatres to 2046 and dropped 37% to $5.5M for the weekend and $39.2M to date.  BIRDMAN (Fox Searchlight) upped its theatres by 40% to 833 and rose 24% to a $1.9M weekend and $30.9M in the US (plus $19.1M overseas).   THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING (Focus/Universal) also widened by 40% to 858 theatres, and rose 34% to $1.3M, with $29.1M in the US and $41.7M overseas.  WHIPLASH (Sony Classics) tripled its run to 567 theatres and more than doubled to a $790K weekend and $7.6M so far.

THE HUNGER GAMES:  MOCKINGJAY PART I (Lionsgate), after 10 weeks of release, hit its goal of becoming the highest-grossing film in US release that opened in 2014, passing Guardians of the Galaxy with $334.3M.  (Guardians is still ahead worldwide, $772.8M to $713M.)  Now Katniss just has to look out for American Sniper

LIMITED RELEASE:  CAKE (Cinelou) had keyed its release to a Jennifer Aniston Oscar nomination that didn’t come.  In a near-wide 482 theatres, it barely (if at all) reached $1M and a $2100 per-theatre average.  A MOST VIOLENT YEAR (A24) was also slighted by the Academy, and had a $6700 average at it widened to 68 theatres.  STILL ALICE (Sony Classics), which did score for Julianne Moore, tripled to 38 theatres with a $10.8K average.  TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT (IFC) got less mileage out of its Best Actress nomination, doubling to 32 theatres with a $3600 average.  Among non-Oscar titles, BLACK SEA (Focus/Universal) started unimpressively with a $7K average at 5 theatres, film festival favorite MOMMY (Roadside) averaged an OK $5300 at 4, and SONG ONE (Film Arcade) was DOA with a $900 average at 27.

NEXT WEEKEND:  Hollywood doesn’t open its big guns on Super Bowl weekend, and this year’s assortment include some teen counterprogramming from PROJECT ALMANAC (Paramount), and the detritus of the appalling (and mercifully not Oscar-nominated) BLACK OR WHITE (Relativity) as well as the random THE LOFT (Open Road).


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."