NORTH AMERICA: Weekend Studio Estimates: 'American Sniper' Surpasses $200M Mark After Dominating with $64.37M; 'The Boy Next Door' Debuts with Solid $15.0M; 'Strange Magic' ($5.5M) and 'Mortdecai' ($4.1M) Both Stumble out of the Gate

on January 24, 2015

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Sunday Update: Warner's American Sniper continued to absolutely dominate the box office this weekend with an estimated 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 an estimated $15.0 million. Universal's low-budget thriller starring Jennifer Lopez performed on 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 23 percent ahead of the $12.20 million start of 2010's The Back-Up Plan (which also starred Lopez) and debuted just 12 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 an estimated $5.53 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 with an estimated $4.13 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 an estimated $12.39 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 surpassed the $40 million mark this weekend and has grossed a very solid $40.06 million. That places the film on par with 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 an estimated $11.6 million. The modestly budgeted comedy starring Kevin Hart and Josh Gad was down a respectable 44 percent from last weekend. The Wedding Ringer has grossed $39.68 million in ten days, which is on the lower end of expectations. The film is now running 4 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 an estimated $7.6 million. The third installment of the Liam Neeson led franchise was down a significant 48 percent from last weekend. Taken 3 has grossed $76.05 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 took in sixth and eighth place with respective estimated takes of $7.14 million and $5.50 million. With aid from expanding into an additional 414 locations, The Weinstein Company's The Imitation Game was up a strong 5 percent over last weekend. Paramount's Selma fell 37 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 $60.64 million for The Imitation Game and at $39.22 million for Selma.

- Daniel Garris

Saturday Update: Warner Bros. reports American Sniper eased just 40 percent from last Friday to $18.33 million yesterday, easily holding onto first place. To date, the blockbuster war drama has earned $154.1 million domestically. BoxOffice projects a $65 million haul this weekend. Should that hold, it would be one of the top eight sophomore weekends in history (second only to Avatar and the original Spider-Man among non-sequels), and the biggest ever second weekend gross for a non-franchise movie -- topping The Passion of the Christ's $53.2 million second frame. Sniper is currently running 68 percent ahead of where Gravity stood at the same point, and is currently in line with the eight-day $153 million take posted by Passion in 2004. The Bradley Cooper-led, Clint Eastwood-helmed Oscar nominee should approach, if not cross, the $200 million domestic mark by the end of the weekend.

The Boy Next Door grabbed a solid $5.7 million in its first day on Friday. The Jennifer Lopez thriller is on target to bring in $15.7 million over its debut weekend, a positive start for the micro-budget flick.

The Wedding Ringer added $3.3 million yesterday, down 53 percent from its opening day last weekend. With $31.4 million in the bank through 8 days of release, BoxOffice projects a $10.9 million sophomore frame.

Paddington eased 44 percent from opening day last week to $2.6 million on Friday, giving the well-received animated adaptation a $30.3 million domestic total through eight days of release. BoxOffice projects $12.4 million for the weekend.

The Imitation Game tacked on another $1.92 million yesterday as it added another 414 theaters this weekend. The multiple Oscar nominee has tallied $55.4 million thus far. BoxOffice projects a $7.5 million weekend.

Unfortunately, the other two openers this weekend struggled to find an audience in a crowded marketplace. Mortdecai bowed to $1.47 million on Friday, setting it on a course for a $4.5 million weekend. Meanwhile, Strange Magic pulled $1.3 million on its first day and is expected to tally around $5 million for its opening weekend.

Check BoxOffice on Sunday for official weekend estimates from the studios.

- Shawn Robbins

Update #2: Sources tell BoxOffice that American Sniper is headed for more than $55 million during its sophomore frame, which means it will end up with close to $200 million by Sunday. 

The Boy Next Door is clearly connecting with key female demos, and it's on pace for north of $16 million.

Both Mortdecai and Strange Magic will open to around $6 million-$7 million. Mortdecai's debut marks another disappointment for star Johnny Depp.

Check back tomorrow for updated projections and official studio numbers.

Update #1: Sources report that The Boy Next Door landed an estimated $500,000 from Thursday's opening shows, a good start for the low-budget thriller starring Jennifer Lopez. Comparisons are somewhat few and far between, although last night's early take was in line with Nightcrawler's $515,000 Thursday haul back in October.

Also opening this weekend are Mortdecai and Strange Magic. Ultimately, though, the big story of the weekend will be how well American Sniper holds on in its sophomore frame of wide release.

More as it comes.

Tags: Strange Magic, Mortdecai, The Boy Next Door, American Sniper, North-america

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