Box Office for American Sniper leads to Chris Kyle Day in Texas – Super Bowl 2015

Welcome to this week’s Movie Math, which
just happens to fall on Chris Kyle Day. Yes in true Texas fashion, Governor Greg Abbott
refuses to let the debate over Kyle’s legacy cloud his state’s celebration of their native
son – and thus named February 2nd, when Kyle was shot and killed in 2013, as a day to officially
honor the fallen soldier. Now 2013 was two years ago, so what’s changed? Well, there’s
a little movie called American Sniper currently playing in theaters – which this weekend easily
topped the box office for the third time in a row, plus potentially broke even more records.
There’s no question that the Clint Eastwood and Bradley Cooper bio has gripped both the
country and the world – it got a limited release in Baghdad after all, where it played to sold
out crowds – so now the question is whether or not Hollywood will be seduced by such power,
or appalled by it. Of course I’m talking about The Academy, and how they’ll cast
their ballots when the final round of voting for the Oscars begins this Friday. As for
that new record I mentioned, American Sniper is hoping to eclipse Hanna Montana’s first
movie to become the biggest Super Bowl weekend gross of all time – making for an interesting
snapshot of Americana indeed. But no matter how the Super Bowl record shakes out, American
Sniper is now officially the highest grossing war film of all time, domestically, at around
two hundred and fifty million. And again, that’s just three weeks into its wide release.
Now while American audiences continued to embrace Chris Kyle, they turned a cold shoulder
to all three new releases for the weekend. When I reviewed Project Almanac, I wondered
if it was just a teenage version of last year’s Earth to Echo – and it looks like I was right
on target as the two found footage films opened on par. Project Almanac seriously underperformed
for producer Michael Bay though, who doesn’t seem to have as much luck with sci-fi as he
does with horror. Hey wait, isn’t Transformers sci-fi? Meh, I think we can all agree Bay’s
Transformers movies play by their own set of rules. As for Kevin Costner, he personally
put up the nine million to make Black or White, as he wanted to make sure studio suits didn’t
take the bite out of Mike Binder’s script. Hmm, maybe some of that bite should’ve been
hinted at at the ad campaign for the film, which didn’t get many out into theaters.
Still, thankfully, this isn’t a HUGE embarrassment for Costner – although one does wonder just
how much longer he can ride the coattails of 2012’s incredibly successful Hatfields
and McCoys. The History channel miniseries put Costner in demand again for Hollywood,
but apparently not with audiences as all three of his movies in 2014 were box office duds
– and 2015 isn’t looking much better. Oh and then there’s The Loft. Fans of the
original Belgian thriller have been wondering when they’d get to see this Hollywood remake
– chock full of hotties with cult fan bases – yet quickly were reminded that sometimes
you should be careful what you wish for. I was even going to see this movie at the last
minute on a whim, until several of you alerted me social media that it was literally the
worst movie you’d ever seen. And I must’ve not been the only one warned to stay away,
as The Loft debuted at the very bottom of the top ten – with even less cash than fellow
cad Mortdecai. Speaking of Mortdecai, the film which could potentially be the deathknell
of Johnny Depp’s career – or at least hopefully a wake-up call – dropped over sixty percent
in its second weekend and fell out of the top ten. The Boy Next Door also got the door
slammed in its face, falling about sixty percent as well – but at least, like Ryan Guzman with
JLo, it got one hot and steamy weekend with audiences. Yet two family films demonstrated
nice holds. Paddington’s furry little legs seem to be carrying him much further than
anyone ever would have expected, and Strange Magic is managed to hover towards the bottom
of the box office with just a thirty-six percent drop in its second weekend. Then Game of Thrones
hit IMAX theaters, posting very solid numbers – yet it won’t get many headlines as it
didn’t crack the top ten. It almost did though, and might have if HBO hadn’t blinked
and released the trailer online for Season Five on Friday afternoon. Their hand was forced
though because someone filmed the trailer and posted it themselves – mystery dude, you
are seriously undermining the chances of a Game of Thrones movie. And finally, the Oscars
don’t seem to be helping out the nominees with their box office numbers. The Imitation
Game, Birdman, The Theory of Everything and Whiplash have at least okay holds, but Selma
and Boyhood dropped considerably. Boyhood is at least available to buy or rent, however
it’s a real shame the exceptional Martin Luther King Jr bio isn’t finding an audience.
However, it’s actually performing on par with last year’s 12 Years a Slave – which
freakin’ WON the Best Picture Oscar. Apparently it’s going to take more than King Jr and
even Kevin Hart to get white audiences to really embrace so-called “black” films.
As for this coming weekend, SpongeBob is coming out of the water and to the top of the box
office, as the little guy is expected to finally end American Sniper’s number one streak.
Meanwhile it looks like the Wachowskis aren’t going to turn things around with Jupiter Ascending,
while more supposedly top talent is set to be embarrassed at the box office with Seventh
Son. And that’s the weekend box office! I’m Grace Randolph and we just did some
Movie Math – as always, thanks for watching, and I hope you’ll go Beyond The Trailer
for these other top movies…

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