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Weekend Estimates: American Sniper Continues Box Office Domination

January 25th, 2015

American Sniper poster

After smashing the January weekend record last weekend, American Sniper is enjoying a very solid second-weekend hold. So solid, in fact, that it will also have the third-best January weekend. If it drops less than 35% next weekend, it will share with Avatar the records for the top six January weekends, each movie having topped $42 million three times. Sniper’s expected weekend this time around is $64.365m, according to Warner Bros. Sunday morning projection.

While an Avatar-like total is out of reach for Sniper, it has now amassed $200 million in two weekends of wide release, a remarkable pace for a drama. Even counting its long limited engagement, it will pass $200 million in 32 days, beating The Blind Side’s record for the fastest drama to the milestone by 11 days.

Unsurprisingly, this weekend was tough sledding for new releases, although The Boy Next Door will pick a decent $15 million from 2,602 theaters. An average of $5,765 per theater suggests it will stick around for a few weeks, in spite of generally negative reviews. Strange Magic will post an anemic $5.5 million or so for Disney, which inherited the film when it purchased LucasFilm, and showed little enthusiasm for it.

The movie that will generally be regarded as the biggest bomb this weekend is Mortdecai, which is riding weak reviews to a poor $4.125 million opening. The talk is all about Johnnny Depp and the weak performance of his recent films. In truth, Depp has always appeared in a diverse range of films, not all of which work out. This is reflected in our Bankability rating for Depp, which pegs him as worth about $7 million to a non-franchise movie, somewhat lower than the likes of Brad Pitt, Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio, each of whom focus on more commercial films, and have a per-film value around $10 million; and much less than Tom Cruise, who really only appears in high-budget, commercial films, and is worth about $18 million to each one. Depp’s appeal lies partly in his unpredictability, so a few misses isn’t so much of a surprise.

Limited releases this weekend are all about the Oscars. Still Alice will have the best theater average after American Sniper with a solid $411,000 from 38 locations. The Imitation Game will be the best performer in the top 10, with a 5% improvement over last weekend. In general, the tea leaves are a little difficult to read this weekend, with American Sniper obviously taking a lot of the headlines, but perhaps not moving into the running for Best Picture. Its massive earnings will surely garner it some votes though, perhaps in the more minor categories. Bradley Cooper might be a good bet for a Best Actor win, for example.

- Weekend Estimates

Bruce Nash

Filed under: Weekend Box Office, The Boy Next Door, Mortdecai, The Imitation Game, American Sniper, Still Alice, Strange Magic, Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp, Tom Hanks, Brad Pitt, Bradley Cooper, Leonardo DiCaprio