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Weekend B.O. Jan. 16-18 (You Gotta Be Kidding Me!)

Weekend B.O. Jan. 16-18 (You Gotta Be Kidding Me!)

If this isn’t
a shocker then I know what is. Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper,” which opened
wide this weekend, after a very successful limited run, grossed a
stupefying S90 million, for a total of $93 million so far.

The film, on
Friday alone, grossed some $30.5 million, the biggest one day take ever in January for any movie, ever. Proving, I guess, that the right wing wet dream of having a white guy shoot people of color indiscriminately, is box office
gold. (Makes me want to see “Django Unchained” again)

And what
makes this even more surprising is that the film, as well as the book it’s based
on, has so many inaccuracies, compared to the real life story of the subject, Chris Kyle, and yet no one blew a gasket about that, unlike the uproar over the
portrayal of President Johnson and his accurate half-hearted support, at first,
of the Civil Rights Act in “Selma.”

Maybe the
Oscar nominations for “Sniper” were a large factor, but other films such as “The Imitation
Game” got even more; so what happened here is beyond me. And even if all those
aged, and angry white guy Fox News viewers, went out and saw the film, it wouldn’t have accounted
for this amazing tally.

Film critic
and box office analyst. Erik Childress, who predicted a huge b.o. return for “Sniper” a few weeks ago, wrote that it was about as perfectly marketed a film as
he’s seen in many years; it was advertised as a film with something for
everyone – an R rated action movie, a war film, an anti-war film, and a domestic
drama.  A film with something that would
appeal to every filmgoer out there. Could he have been right? Why did “Sniper” blow past everyone’s expectations? If you have a guess, let’s hear it.

And speaking
of “Selma,” which came in fifth this weekend, which is not bad, considering all the
competition, the news is pretty good. The film was the second highest grossing
film Thursday – the day the Oscars nominations were announced. And, as I
predicted last week, because of the great word of mouth the film has gotten, and
the MLK holiday, the film held steady this weekend, grossing
$8.3 million; though the final weekend tally will be higher
because of tomorrow’s holiday. 

So far, the film has grossed almost $26 million, looking good for about $50 million domestically. O.K. so not the $60
million that I originally predicted, but not bad for the $20 million film.
(Which is why I don’t go to the race track).

But the film should easily gross
that much and more, when it opens in Europe and South America, starting in late Jan,
through Feb, into early March. Of course we’ll be keeping tabs on how the film
performs overseas as well.

Perhaps the
controversy about Ava DuVernay, David Oyelowo and Bradford Young failing to get
Oscar nominations, and the criticism about the lack of diversity in the Oscars, may have actually helped the film, making filmgoers curious to see what the fuss
is all about.

Kevin
Hart’s latest film, “The Wedding Ringer,” came in 2nd place, with $21
million, which is almost what “Selma” has done to date. I
don’t know about you, but that somewhat bothers me. Yeah, I know what you’re
going to say – that people just want to be entertained, or that I’ve had it with
all the slave & Civil Rights movies. But “Selma” is a tremendous film, while “The
Wedding Ringer” is just like exactly every other Kevin Hart film you’ve seen.

On top of
that, his screechy shtick is getting pretty thin, and he doesn’t seem to be interested in doing different kinds of things, compared to Richard Pryor or even Eddie Murphy. I mean, could you imagine Hart in
something as deep and profound as “Blue Collar” with Pryor? So when people get
tired of his stuff, which I think will be soon, then what?

Not
surprisingly, the bad reviews, and even worse word-of-mouth, resulted in last week’s
No. 1 film, “Taken 3,” with a huge 65% drop from last weekend.

The other
big shocker was the disastrous opening for Michel Mann’s excellent globetrotting
cyber-thriller, “Blackhat,” starring Thor, Chris Hemsworth. The $70 million film opened
with only $4 million, making it, though it’s still only January, one of the
biggest bombs of the year.

Perhaps the
marketing failed to convey exactly what the film was about. And also, quite possibly, unless
Hemsworth is swinging a big hammer in his hand, no one cares about him. No
wonder Warner Bros, this past Friday, pushed back the release of his big epic
Moby Dick seafaring adventure, directed by Ron Howard, “In the Heart of
the Sea,” from its originally planned March 13th release, to
December, despite Howard’s claim that the film was a better fit as a big
Christmas holiday release.

1) American Sniper  WB  $90,205,000  Total: $93,630,000 
2) The Wedding Ringer  SGem  $21,000,000 
3) Paddington  W/Dim.  $19,287,000 
4) Taken 3  Fox  $14,050,000 Total: $62,837,000 
5) Selma  Par.  $8,300,000  Total: $25,964,000 
6) The Imitation Game  Wein.  $7,192,000 Total: $50,798,000 
7) Into the Woods  BV  $6,542,000  otal: $114,296,000 
8) The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies  WB  $4,860,000  Total: $244,537,000 
9) Unbroken  Uni.  $4,267,000  Total: $108,610,000 
10) Blackhat  Uni.  $4,030,000 
11) Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb  Fox  $3,825,000  Total: $104,773,000 
12) Annie  Sony  $1,900,000  Total: $82,000,000

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