• Industry

World Box Office Jan 19- 25

Last weekend’s box office narrative, in the U.S. and overseas, was all about an American icon who, at age 84, managed to direct the story of a real life hero and transform it into a success with superhero numbers: we are talking about Clint Eastwood, whose American Sniper took even Warner Brothers by surprise bringing in over $100 million in its first week of wide release. In its second one, Eastwood’s movie with Bradley Cooper as the late Navy SEAL Chris Kyle showed no sign of slowing: it added $64 million, falling only 28%. The domestic total now stands at $200 million, which makes it Eastwood’s highest grossing film. Not accounting for inflation, Sniper is now also the highest grossing war movie of all times, jumping ahead of Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan and Michael Bay’s Pearl Harbor. The news from overseas are as good: American Sniper cashed $17.6 million from 26 markets and is now close to a total of $50 million, with major markets such as France, Germany, Spain, Brazil and Mexico still to open.
While the iconic actor-director-producer-composer made famous by Sergio Leone’s spaghetti westerns keeps winning audiences worldwide way beyond any expectation, another American icon who made a career as a character actor and had turned into a major superstar beloved by adults and children alike keeps losing them: the 51 years-old Johnny Depp whose Mortdecai, the story of an extravagant art dealer in pursuit of a war treasure, had less than stellar results. Actually, it was a devastating flop, returning barely $4.1 million from close to 2,700 theaters. With a production cost of $60 million this is a major disappointment for Lionsgate and Mortdecai has found little consolation from its first encounter with overseas audiences: just $5.2 million in 33 territories.
Moviemaking is not an exact science. It’s a group effort and Johnny Depp was not alone: the film also stars Gwyneth Paltrow, Ewan McGregor, Paul Betany and Jeff Goldblum. But Mortedcai is Depp’s third dud in a row, after Transcendence and The Lone Ranger which cost north of $250 million to produce and barely recovered that amount worldwide. Depp may find some consolation in Into The Woods, where he plays a small part: its domestic numbers stand at $120 million, the worldwide haul is at $155 million. And now the question is if to reaffirm his star power Depp will have to wait for July 2017, when he will again don the bandanna and gold teeth of Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates 5. Back to the States, another film that performed below expectations is Strange Magic, an animated film produced by George Lucas and inspired by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream: it had 3,000 theaters to play with but it opened just above $ 5.5 million. Things went better for the very well reviewed Paddington, an animated film made in the UK that ended its second weekend in third place with $12 million and a total of over 40; and even more so for The Boy Next Door, with Jennifer Lopez in the role of a literature teacher having sex with her 19 year-old neighbor (Ryan Guzman) and having to regret it. Directed by Rob Cohen, of The Fast and The Furious fame, the film cost only $4 million to produce and is replete with silly and cheesy dialogues. But it resonated with audiences and ended its first outing in second place with $15 million and a personal triumph for Jennifer Lopez, whose last major success goes way back to Monster-in-Law, ten years ago. 
Kevin Hart’s The Wedding Ringer ended its second weekend in fourth place, making $11.6 million for a total of 40. Fifth place went to Liam Neeson’s Taken 3, that after three weekends stands at $76 million. Overseas the film so far has generated twice as much and has now gathered a cumulative total of $227 million. Enough for a silver medal, but the overseas gold again went to The Hobbit: Battle of Five Armies, that opened in China with close to $50 million. The Middle Earth saga is now at $870 million worldwide and well within reach of the $1 billion mark.
Night at the Museum: The Secret Tomb and The Imitation Game keep doing pretty well, with a worldwide total of $301 million and $117 million, respectively. Things were not as good for Cake. It was geared to be Jennifer Aniston’s vehicle to the Oscars, but she did not garner a nomination. And close to 500 locations provided slightly more than $1 million.
Lorenzo Soria