By Daniel Garris
Warner's American Sniper continued to absolutely dominate the box office this weekend with a first place take of $64.37 million. In the process, the Clint Eastwood directed Best Picture nominee starring Bradley Cooper surpassed the $200 million domestic mark this weekend. American Sniper was down just 28 percent from last weekend. That represented an extremely impressive second weekend hold, especially for a film with grosses of this magnitude.
Without adjusting for ticket price inflation, American Sniper registered the eighth largest second weekend gross of all-time. American Sniper also registered the third largest January weekend gross of all-time (behind only the film's performance last weekend and the third weekend performance of Avatar back in 2010). With $200.14 million after just ten days of wide release, American Sniper is currently running a massive 64 percent ahead of the $122.32 million ten-day start of 2013's Gravity (which fell 23 percent in its second weekend to gross $43.19 million). Given this weekend's performance, American Sniper is obviously in great position to zoom past the $300 million milestone going forward.
American Sniper took in an estimated $5.8 million from IMAX locations this weekend. That brings the film's IMAX total to $18.8 million, which represents 9.4 percent of the film's overall gross thus far.
The Boy Next Door debuted in second place this weekend with $14.91 million. Universal's low-budget thriller starring Jennifer Lopez performed towards the higher end of pre-release expectations. The film was off to a good start, especially with its low production budget in mind. The Boy Next Door opened 22 percent ahead of the $12.20 million start of 2010's The Back-Up Plan (which also starred Lopez) and debuted 13 percent below the $17.12 million debut of 2013's The Call. The Boy Next Door received a B- rating on CinemaScore, which is respectable for a thriller. The audience breakdown for The Boy Next Door skewed heavily towards female moviegoers (71 percent) and towards moviegoers 25 years and older (60 percent).
The news was far worse for the weekend's other two wide releases as Disney's Strange Magic and Lionsgate's Mortdecai were both dead on arrival. As was the case with Universal's Blackhat last weekend, Strange Magic and Mortdecai both had a problem finding an audience due in large part to the breakout performance of American Sniper (with poor critical reviews for both films also not helping).
Strange Magic debuted in seventh place with $5.50 million. The computer animated film written and executive produced by George Lucas debuted below its already modest pre-release expectations. Strange Magic performed similarly to Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return, which opened with $3.75 million back in May of last year. Strange Magic received a B- rating on CinemaScore, which is lackluster for an animated film. The audience breakdown for Strange Magic skewed towards female moviegoers (56 percent) and towards moviegoers 25 years and younger (53 percent). Family audiences represented 71 percent of the film's overall audience.
Mortdecai landed in ninth place with $4.20 million. Unlike Strange Magic, the comedy starring Johnny Depp and Gwyneth Paltrow had been expected to have somewhat of a presence at the box office this weekend, due in part to strong levels of online buzz. But much like last year's Transcendence (which debuted with just $10.89 million), Mortdecai failed to live up to expectations. Audiences have clearly lost interest in Depp, especially when it comes to his non-event film roles. Mortdecai received a soft C+ rating on CinemaScore.
Paddington took third place this weekend with $12.27 million. The family film from The Weinstein Company was down 35 percent from last weekend's three-day start. That represented a nice second weekend hold, especially with the added direct completion from Strange Magic. Paddington has grossed a very solid $39.94 million in ten days. That places the film just below the $40.06 million ten-day start of The Nut Job last January (which fell 38 percent in its second weekend to gross $12.10 million).
Sony's The Wedding Ringer followed in fourth with $11.31 million. The modestly budgeted comedy starring Kevin Hart and Josh Gad was down a respectable 45 percent from last weekend. The Wedding Ringer has grossed $39.39 million in ten days, which is on the lower end of expectations. The film is now running 3 percent ahead of the $38.28 million ten-day take of last year's About Last Night (which declined a far sharper 71 percent in its second weekend to gross $7.53 million).
Fox's Taken 3 rounded out the weekend's top five with $7.41 million. The third installment of the Liam Neeson led franchise was down a significant 50 percent from last weekend. Taken 3 has grossed $75.86 million in 17 days, which places the film 28 percent behind the $105.83 million 17-day gross of 2012's Taken 2.
Best Picture nominees The Imitation Game and Selma claimed sixth and eighth place with estimated takes of $6.95 million and $5.42 million. With aid from expanding into an additional 414 locations, The Weinstein Company's The Imitation Game was up a strong 2 percent over last weekend. Paramount's Selma fell 38 percent from last weekend, due in part to last weekend's performance having been inflated by the Martin Luther King holiday. Respective total grosses stand at $60.45 million for The Imitation Game and at $39.14 million for Selma.