Another weekend, another box office record for American Sniper.
While the Super Bowl took a bite out of the North American box office this weekend, it wasn’t enough to stop American Sniper from claiming another box office record, this time for highest gross during Super Bowl Weekend. The Warner Brothers release earned more than the next four films combined, which included the weak openings for Project Almanac and Black Or White, while nearing the quarter-billion dollar milestone. The top ten may have been down 40% from last weekend but it was up nearly 25% over last year’s totals.
American Sniper may have lost 51% of its audience to Sunday’s Big Game, but that didn’t stop it from taking in an estimated $31.8 million from 3,885 screens in its sixth week of overall release. Should that estimate hold, it would be more than enough to eclipse Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best Of Both Worlds Concert Tour’s $31.2 million opening from 2008.
With $248.9 million in the bank thus far, American Sniper is only a few days away from surpassing the latest Hobbit and Captain America sequels as well as The LEGO Movie to become the third biggest-grossing film of 2014. Depending on how well it holds over the next few weeks, it could give The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part One a serious run for its money as the biggest grosser of 2014. At the very least, crossing the $300 mark will make it the second-highest grossing R-rated feature of all-time ahead of The Matrix Reloaded and behind The Passion of the Christ.
Foreign totals for American Sniper currently stand at $67.3 million.
The Weinstein Company’s Paddington also held its own for a third weekend, easing 31% to earn an estimated $8.6 million from 3,303 screens. Pulling the film out of the crowded Christmas frame has proven to be a very smart and profitable move on behalf of the Weinstein Company as the domestic total for the critically acclaimed family flick now stands at $50.5 million. Paddington is currently looking at a final haul near the $75 million mark.
It wasn’t a very good week for the trio of new releases debuting in the market. Paramount’s critically panned time-travel flick Project Almanac made the biggest impact, if you can consider $8.5 million from 2,893 screens “big”. Originally scheduled for release last year, Paramount used one of the quietest weekends of the winter to dump the film out for a quick buck before hitting home video. Still, despite the low opening Paramount can’t feel too bad since the movie cost only $12 million to make.
Relativity’s race drama Black or White landed in fourth place with a small $6.4 million from 1,823 theaters. The $9 million Kevin Costner drama found it rough going on a number of fronts. Reviews were awful for the Mike Binder-directed drama, which co-starred Octavia Spencer and Anthony Mackie, studio-advertising support was minimal and it found itself competing for adult ticket buyer money with American Sniper. Still, with its small budget, the film should turn a profit over time thanks to home video and cable revenue streams.
The third wide release of the weekend was Open Roads’ The Loft, which was condemned in tenth place with a pathetic $2.8 million from 1,841 screens. James Marsden and Karl Urban star in the thriller, which went from Warner Brothers to Universal and finally to Open Road Films once Universal yanked the feature from its release schedule last August. The film wasn’t screened for the press in advance. Given its zero percent Rotten Tomatoes rating from the 18 critics that did manage to see it, that was probably a wise move.
Rounding out the top five was Universal’s low budget thriller The Boy Next Door. The Jennifer Lopez feature dropped 59% from the previous weekend to earn an estimated $6.1 million from 2,615 screens. It’s two-week total stands at $24.6 million. The film should wind down its run between $32-35 million, roughly eight times its production budget of $4 million.
The remainder of the top ten is as follows:
6. The Wedding Ringer (Screen Gems) $5.7 million (-50%); $48.1 million
7. The Imitation Game (Weinstein) $5.1 million (-25%); $67.9 million
8. Taken 3 (Fox) $3.65 million (-51%); $81.3 million
9. Strange Magic (Disney) $3.4 million (-37%); $9.8 million
Outside the top ten was the big screen debut of HBO’s Game of Thrones in 205 IMAX venues. The final two episodes of the fourth season were reformatted for the IMAX format and presented with a preview for the upcoming fifth season. The end result was a solid $1.5 million. The special engagement runs for one week with the blu-ray edition of Season Four scheduled for February 17th.
Next weekend sees the arrival of two long-delayed features: Warner’s Jupiter Ascending and Universal’s Seventh Son, the latter which has earned $82 million overseas thus far. Paramount’s The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water will also arrive on the scene starting Friday. Jupiter should ascend to the top spot next weekend without much trouble.