The age-old adage comes up again: “critics don’t matter.” Of course, it really depends on the film and if audiences are feeling remotely unsure of the product. But some films are just critic proof, and it seems like the “Taken” movies are firmly among those ranks. “Taken 3” earned an estimated $40.4 million this weekend, taking the top spot and perhaps signaling that audiences needed some kind of break from serious Oscar-bait dramas. The opening is about 18% down from “Taken 2,” but considering the absolutely awful 12% Rotten Tomatoes score, that’s a pretty damn good figure (it’s also the second highest all-time January opening). Is it the last of the series? We can only hope, but Liam Neeson looks like he’s already continuing down the old-guy-beating-people-up path with the upcoming “Run All Night.”
Expanding onto 2,157 screens, Paramount’s “Selma” had a good weekend, breaking into the #2 spot. $11.2 million isn’t amazing (some would call it a disappointing expansion) for this theater count and the buzz around the film, but an A+ Cinemascore should ensure the movie has legs in theaters for a long while. Oscar nominations next week could also change all that and the film could really surge.
And so the three-week ‘Hobbit’ reign is over. ‘The Battle Of The Five Armies’ tumbled 57% in week four, but still added almost $10 million to its domestic total, which now stands at $236.5 million. It should top out around $260 million, and if so could overtake “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” for the third highest grossing movie of 2014 domestically. Overseas is another story entirely. As of last weekend, the movie was at $730 million after four weeks of release. The movie now sits at $781 million worldwide and while it definitely was on track to unseat “Transformers: Age Of Extinction” to become the #1 grossing movie of 2014 worldwide, in week five of international release, the pace is starting to weaken.
“Into The Woods” and “Unbroken” cracked the $100 million mark this weekend in their third week of domestic release, a terrific figure for both films. Angelina Jolie’s film is definitely catching up too, despite ‘Woods’ having a much bigger opening weekend. Weinstein’s “The Imitation Game” hauled in an estimated $7.62 million this weekend and its domestic total stands at $40.84 million, making for the second highest grossing indie of last year (“Grand Budapest Hotel” is still #1 currently).
Elsewhere in the box-office top ten, “Annie,” “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb,” and “The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death” are still posting strong numbers. While it still has not eclipsed “Guardians Of The Galaxy,” “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1” is closing in on the Marvel movie to become the highest grossing domestic film of 2014. Currently, the picture stands at $329.5 million, which is about three million shy of James Gunn’s picture. There’s a good chance they’ll hit that mark by next weekend.
Warner Bros. wisely didn’t go full-blown “wide” for the “Inherent Vice” expansion. The Paul Thomas Anderson film took in an estimated $2.9 million this weekend from 645 locations for a not bad $4,496 per screen average and almost gate crashed into the top 10 (it’s #11). The movie’s domestic total stands at $4.48 million, and given how esoteric and challenging this film is, if it hits $15 million domestically, that’s probably going to be a success by those standards.
In its expanding platform release, Warner Bros.’ “American Sniper”—which is already rallying during awards season despite lukewarm early reviews—is still posting astonishing numbers. The movie had another $555,000 weekend from just four theaters, making for a $139k per screen average (that figure is higher than most of the all-time biggest limited release debuts). It expands nationally next Friday, one day after the Oscar nominations, and if ‘Sniper’ scores a nod for Best Picture and other major categories (which it feels poised to do at the moment), that could give it a stellar push.
All eyes are on next Thursday when the Academy Award noms come out, and if pictures like “Birdman,” “Theory Of Everything,” and “Foxcatcher” receive the numerous noms many anticipate, expect those studios to at least double their theater count, and we could see all those pictures crack the top 10 again. Sony‘s “The Interview” has fallen out of the top 35, and that’s a big wrap for its theatrical release. Presumably those that care saw it on VOD, but man, that was the fastest buzz to non-starter in recent box-office memory.
1 Taken 3 — $40,400,000
2. Selma — $11,200,000 ($13,487,000)
3. Into the Woods — $9,750,000 ($105,272,000)
4. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies — $9,435,000 ($236,517,000)
5. Unbroken — $8,368,000 ($101,602,000)
6. The Imitation Game — $7,624,000 ($40,840,000)
7. Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb — $6,700,000 ($99,523,000)
8. Annie — $4,919,000 ($79,437,000)
9. The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death — $4,825,000 ($22,334,000)
10. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 — $3,750,000 ($329,525,000)