Flashback to summer 2014: most pundits ask if Clint Eastwood has lost his touch after “Jersey Boys” tanks at the box-office. Fast forward to present day and Eastwood has the 6th highest grossing film in the U.S. for 2014 grosses and counting. The unexpected box-office behemoth that is “American Sniper” is probably last year’s biggest unlikely hit, and now it’s about $1.1 million away from the $250 million mark. In its third week of wide release, ‘Sniper’ grossed another whopping $31 million. When was the last time a film did that? To put it in perspective, the #1 and #2 highest grossing films of the year, tentpoles “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1” and “Guardians Of The Galaxy,” pulled in $22 and $25 million in their third weeks of release, respectively. While Eastwood’s war drama fell 50.7% this weekend from last, clearly it’s only putting a small dent in its box-office domination. Looks like Warner Bros.’ loyalty to Eastwood all these years has paid off: they’ve released practically every movie he’s directed since the 1980s.
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With only a -30.7% The Weinstein Company’s “Paddington” showed a terrific hold in week two, even moving up one slot from last weekend. New releases this weekend didn’t really have much sway at the box-office though. Paramount‘s Michael Bay-produced high-concept time travel film “Project Almanac” could not crack $9 million in its debut weekend, and neither could Relativity’s “Black Or White” starring Kevin Costner.
Uni’s “The Boy Next Door” dropped nearly 60% in week two, and “The Wedding Ringer” fell almost 50% in week three, but the latter R-Rated comedy is at least almost at $50 million domestically. Weinstein’s “The Imitation Game” is the only Oscar contender in the top ten outside of “American Sniper,” and having now grossed $67.9 million in the U.S., it’s shot right past “The Grand Budapest Hotel” to become 2014’s highest grossing indie.
It’s probably a good thing “Taken 3” is supposedly the end of the franchise. In it’s 4th week of release, the movie is trailing the box-office performance of its two predecessors and right now looks like it will easily be the lowest grossing entry in the series. Delayed several times, Open Road’s “The Loft” was surprisingly not screened for critics, and audiences didn’t seem to care either way. The movie opened wide on 1,841 screens, but failed to even crack $3 million in its opening weekend.
How are the Best Picture Oscar contenders doing? “Selma” is nearing the $45 million mark, “Birdman” is almost at $35 million, “The Theory Of Everything” has surpassed $30 million and “Whiplash” is the lowest grossing Best Picture nominee with $8.6 million total.
A24’s “A Most Violent Year” finally opened wide on 818 screens, but could only muster $1.7 million for a $3.1 million total so far. In worldwide milestones, “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” has hit $915 million worldwide, making for the 2nd highest grossing film of the year worldwide, but it likely won’t hit the $1 billion mark or surpass “Transformers: Age of Extinction” as originally projected. Domestically, Peter Jackson’s film is the fifth highest grossing film of 2014, but “American Sniper” should easily take its slot by next weekend, and in a week or two, should firmly sneak past “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” for the 3rd slot.
A serious kick in the teeth was given to Universal and Michael Mann‘s “Blackhat” in its third week of release. Seeing the damage done from the previous two weeks of failure, the studio pulled it from 2,332 theaters and it plunged 93.2%, grossing a pitiful $114,000. Estimated to have a $75 million budget, its $7.8 million dollar domestic gross isn’t about to get any higher and Uni’s going to have to chalk up the cyber drama as a big loss.
1. American Sniper — $31,850,000 ($248,942,000)
2. Paddington — $8,505,000 ($50,540,000)
3. Project Almanac — $8,500,000
4. Black or White — $6,456,000
5. The Boy Next Door — $6,093,000 ($24,684,000)
6. The Wedding Ringer — $5,700,000 ($48,100,000)
7. The Imitation Game — $5,173,000 ($67,955,000)
8. Taken 3 — $3,650,000 ($81,353,000)
9. Strange Magic — $3,441,000 ($9,899,000)
10. The Loft — $2,879,000