The box office beast that is American Sniper kept chugging along this weekend, dropping a miniscule 28% to bring in another $64 million to pass $200 million in two weeks. That's pretty amazing- clearly the buzz, Oscar nominations, and now all the controversy and partisan political bickering it's brought up in the media has led to increased interest. I think there's no doubt now that it will quite easily become the highest grossing movie of 2014, beating both Guardians of the Galaxy and Hunger Games to do so (even though it will have made most of its money in 2015). For me that's actually a good thing, simply because it's not a superhero/franchise movie or sequel- and it shows that that original, adult-oriented movies can and will connect with the public if there's interest. That's a good sign for the future too.
The other new releases this weekend didn't do much, aside from J-Lo's The Boy Next Door, a cheap thriller which made it to No. 2 with $15 million. Good for her, but expect it to vanish by next week, as these kinds of January releases do. George Lucas' animated film Strange Magic opened soft with just $5 million, and Johnny Depp's Mortdecai becomes his latest flat out bomb, coming in with a terrible $4 million. Depp seems to be in career free fall; maybe his mob drama Black Mass later this year will be a return to form? The rest of the top five were holdovers, with Paddington doing fairly well as the family audience movie of choice.
- American Sniper- $64.4 million
- The Boy Next Door- $15 million
- Paddington- $12.4 million
- The Wedding Ringer- $11.6 million
- Taken 3- $7.6 million
Several of the limited release Oscar indies came back into theaters this week to receive their nominations bumps, but other than American Sniper, the highest grossing of the pack is now The Imitation Game, which crossed $60 million and landed in 6th place with another $7 million- it's still on track to cross $100 million by Oscar night. Most of the new arthouse releases had disappointing openings this week, including Jennifer Aniston's Cake, which probably would have benefited from a nomination for her, especially as it got dreadful reviews overall. Come back next week for what will undoubtedly be American Sniper's continued reign, because it's another pretty dead weekend for new releases, with only the thriller The Loft opening, along with Kevin Costner's drama Black or White.