Friday Box Office: AMERICAN SNIPER Lines Up Another Big Win; MORTDECAI is the Latest Fail for Depp

     January 24, 2015


Box office pundits have not yet tired of exclaiming over last weekend’s record-breaking expansion of American Sniper.  In case you’re just coming out of a coma, the Best Picture nominee demolished the all-time records for January and the four-day Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday with $89.26 million and $107.2 million, respectively.  American Sniper also more than tripled director Clint Eastwood’s career-best opening (for Gran Torino) and now ranks as the second-highest R-rated debut of all time, behind The Matrix Reloaded.

Now entering its second nationwide frame, American Sniper continues to stun.  After adding an additional 150 locations, the drama took in another $18.3 million on Friday.  That brings the film’s domestic total to $154 million – already more after eight days (even without its three-weeks in limited release) than Lone Survivor earned in its entire domestic run last year.  Estimates for this weekend range from $55 – $60 million.  Just to put that in perspective, even if American Sniper earned $45 million for its sophomore frame it would still be enough to break the former all-time January record all over again.

The Boy Next Door opened in second place on Friday with an estimated $5.7 million.  That puts the Jennifer Lopez thriller on track to meet its pre-release projection of $15 million through Sunday.  It will also beat the $12.2 million that Lopez’s last major feature, The Back-Up Plan, opened to in April 2010. Unsurprisingly, The Boy Next Door has received no love from critics (13% on Rotten Tomatoes), though audiences have been a bit more forgiving based on the film’s B- CinemaScore.

mortdecai-poster-johnny-deppCinemaScore did not look as kindly on Mortdecai, Friday’s final new release.  The R-rated comedy received a C+, which paired with a 13% from RT critics, spells disaster.  Mortdecai stars Johnny Depp – a man who not so many years ago could hardly put a foot wrong at the box office.  As the driving force behind one of the most lucrative franchises of the past decade or so (Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean), Depp was among the highest-paid and most respected actors in the world.  Then came Dark Shadows, The Lone Ranger and The Rum Diary.  In fact, in 2014 Transcendence ($10.2 million opening; $23 million total domestic) stood out as one of the highest-profile flops in a year that offered more than its share of competition.  Depp is having better luck as part of the Into the Woods ensemble, though few would credit his supporting role for the musical’s success.

That brings us back to Mortdecai.  The comedy earned an estimated $1.47 million from 2,648 locations on Friday.  That equals a dismal per-theatre average of $555 – approximately four times lower than The Boy Next Door averaged in fewer theatres.  To be fair, early projections for Mortdecai were never encouraging.  Though the film’s distributor, Lionsgate, was hoping for as much as $12 million, most independent trackers put the film’s debut at $10 million or less.  Instead, look for Mortdecai to struggle to reach $5 million through Sunday – below even the $5.1 million of 2011’s The Rum Diary.

We’ll have weekend box office results tomorrow, but for now here’s how Friday’s top five played out:

 Title Friday Total
1.  American Sniper $18,325,000 $154
2.  The Boy Next Door $5,700,000 $5.7
3.  The Wedding Ringer $3,300,000 $31.3
4.  Paddington $2,606,000 $30.2
5.  Taken 3 $2,065,000 $70.5

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