American Sniper continued its sensational box office run, dropping a mild 28% on its sophomore weekend to earn an estimated $64.4 million and fending off competition from a trio of new releases. The R-rated Oscar nominee is clearly benefitting from exceptional word-of-mouth and buzz. While the opening last week was incredible, its small drop this week was even more impressive, indicating that the film stands a good chance at being the #1 highest-grossing film of the year in North America. (Who would have thought that halfway through 2014? Nobody. And, technically, due to its platform run beginning on Christmas Day, the film is a 2014 release.)
The Bradley Cooper-led drama also amassed the eighth-largest second weekend of all-time. All seven films that had bigger second weekend takes surpassed the $400 million mark. While that is not a guarantee for Sniper, it should handily surpass the final grosses of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 and Guardians of the Galaxy, 2014’s two biggest films to this point. Its big goal is obviously to become the highest-grossing R-rated film of all time. The current record-holder is The Passion of the Christ, with $370.8 million. (That film had earned $213.9 million by the end of its second weekend.) With minimal competition next week, expect Sniper to retain the #1 spot over the Super Bowl frame.
Far down the list at #2 was The Boy Next Door, which brought in a solid $15 million. With just a $4 million production budget, the thriller starring Jennifer Lopez should make a tidy profit for Universal. Compared to other films starring JLo that opened in January, it more than doubled the opening of 2013 disappointment Parker ($7 million), and even opened higher than The Wedding Planner ($13.5 million) in 2001 – although ticket prices were quite a bit lower then. The film even opened slightly better than Enough ($14 million) and The Back-Up Plan ($12.2 million). However, with a B- CinemaScore and poor reviews, a final of $40 million could be a struggle.
Rounding out the top five were three moderate January hits. Families continued to support the acclaimed Paddington, which dipped 35% to earn $12.4 million. Its $40.1 million total so far is on par with The Nut Job, which had the same amount by its 10-day mark last January. Expect a final of around $65 million for Paddington if it continues following that title’s pattern.
Meanwhile, The Wedding Ringer dropped 44% to take in another $11.6 million. That is a better hold than any of the comedies Kevin Hart starred in last year, including Ride Along, Think Like a Man Too and About Last Night. The comedy has made $39.7 million total so far and should find its way to the $60 million mark by its close. Finally, Taken 3 continued to lose crowds to Sniper, making $7.6 million in its third round, a descent of 48% from last week. With $76.1 million already, the three-quel should finish with about $90 million domestically.