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Weekend Predictions: New Releases to Fall Victim to Sniper

January 22nd, 2015

American Sniper poster

There are three wide releases coming out this weekend: The Boy Next Door, Mortdecai, and Strange Magic. None of these movies are earning good reviews and none of them are likely to become even midlevel hits. As such, American Sniper will have a really, really easy time to repeat in top spot. It could drop by 80% and still earn first place this weekend. This weekend last year, the only wide release was I, Frankenstein, which bombed hard. I really hope none of the new releases open as poorly as that film did, but it is possible. Regardless, 2015 will win thanks to American Sniper's sophomore stint.

American Sniper will repeat in first place, the only question is how far it will fall. On the one hand, its reviews are good and the competition is really weak. On the other hand, it opened so huge that a sharp decline is almost inevitable and it is a post-holiday weekend, so that won't help. A 60% drop-off is unlikely, but possible. A 50% drop-off is likely, which would reduce the film's box office haul to a still very impressive $44 million.

The Boy Next Door's buzz has grown at the perfect time and it looks like it will earn second place, despite its reviews. Although to be fair, while 17% positive reviews are just awful, they are also the best of the three new releases. (It really is a January weekend in the most negative sense of the term.) On the high end, it could come close to $20 million, but $15 million is much more likely.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say Paddington will earn third place with between $12 million and $13 million. It does have to deal with direct competition, but its reviews are nearly 100% positive. I think it will grab close to $13 million over the weekend, which should be enough for third place.

The worst movie of the weekend, at least in terms of critical appeal, is Mortdecai, which is earning a mere 6% positive reviews. Nearly all of the critics agree, Mortdecai is a comedy that just isn't funny. The buzz is also weak and there's a chance it will be this week's big bomb opening outside of the top five. I think it won't do that badly, but fourth place and just over $11 million isn't a good start either.

The Wedding Ringer should round out the top five with $11 million over the weekend. Its reviews won't help matters, but at least it is better than its direct competition.

The final new release is Strange Magic. The expectations here are diverse. Some think it will earn second place with just over $16 million, while others think it will miss the top five with $5 million. Unfortunately, I think the low end is more likely than the high end for a number of reasons. Firstly, it is still too early in the year to release a family film. Secondly, there is a much better family film already in theaters. And finally, this film's reviews are incredibly bad. Granted, most analysts are more bullish than I am, but I don't think it will do better than $9 million over the weekend.


Filed under: Weekend Preview, Paddington, The Boy Next Door, The Wedding Ringer, Mortdecai, American Sniper, Strange Magic