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‘American Sniper’ Again Dominates Box Office; ‘Mortdecai’ Flops

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By Saba Hamedy

Los Angeles Times

(TNS)

LOS ANGELES — “American Sniper” held down its No. 1 spot and crossed the $200 million mark at the domestic box office this weekend, surpassing three new releases including the Johnny Depp film “Mortdecai,” which proved to be a dud.

Propelled by a strong Friday night, “American Sniper” added an estimated $64.4 million in the U.S. and Canada in its second weekend in wide release, raising its cumulative domestic total to $200.1 million. The film’s weekend ticket sales fell just 28 percent, making it one of the best holds for such a high-grossing movie.

“American Sniper” had the third-highest-grossing January weekend ever, behind only the $68.5 million third-weekend haul for “Avatar” in January 2010 and the first weekend of wide release for “Sniper.”

The Clint Eastwood-directed war drama, which shattered several box-office records and surpassed tracking expectations over the busy four-day Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, cost Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow about $58 million to make. Adapted from the Chris Kyle autobiography of the same name, the film follows the story of Kyle (Bradley Cooper), a Navy SEAL known as the most lethal sniper in American history.

Coming in at second for the weekend: “The Boy Next Door,” which met expectations with a solid $15 million debut.

The psychological thriller follows Jennifer Lopez as a teacher who is seduced by a teenager (Ryan Guzman). Made for just $4 million, it is the latest micro-budget collaboration from Universal and Blumhouse Productions, following “The Purge” franchise and “Ouija.”

Lopez’s film made “almost four times the $4 million budget in the first weekend,” said Nicholas Carpou, Universal’s head of domestic distribution. “It’s great for us.”

As tracking suggested, “The Boy Next Door” played strongly with women and Latinos. An estimated 45 percent of moviegoers were Latino and 71 percent were female. About 60 percent of audiences were 25 or older. According to Universal’s exit polls, 71 percent of the audience said Lopez was the main reason for seeing the film.

Its strong female appeal will provide “excellent counterprogramming,” especially with the upcoming Super Bowl, Carpou said.

In third place for the weekend was Weinstein Co.’s family film “Paddington,” which added $12.4 million to its total $40.1 million domestic haul. The movie is based on the popular English children’s literature character Paddington Bear, created by Michael Bond. It stars Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Nicole Kidman and Ben Whishaw (who voices Paddington).

Family film “Strange Magic” fell short of its $10 million tracking forecast, launching in seventh with $5.5 million. The computer-animated film, which earned a B-minus grade on CinemaScore, is produced by Lucasfilm and distributed by Walt Disney Co. The voice cast for the goblin and elves film includes Kristen Chenoweth, Maya Rudolph and Evan Rachel Wood.

Meanwhile, fellow newcomer “Mortdecai” barely broke into the top 10. The Johnny Depp-led film finished in ninth with a $4.1 million debut despite the Lionsgate-OddLot Entertainment release’s star power.

Depp stars as the quirky art dealer and part-time rogue Charlie Mortdecai, who tries to recover a stolen painting. The film, based on the 1970s Kyril Bonfiglioli comic novels, co-stars Gwyneth Paltrow, Ewan McGregor and Olivia Munn.

The film received a generally poor reception from critics and a C-plus audience grade from CinemaScore.

Depp’s latest films have been box-office duds. “Transcendence” premiered to a meager $11.2 million in April. “The Lone Ranger” famously tanked with a weak opening of $48.9 million in July of 2013.

In limited release, the Jennifer Aniston-led film “Cake” opened to $1 million in 482 locations, a per-screen average of $2,074.

The Jude Law film “Black Sea” debuted to $35,000 in five locations, or a per-screen average of $7,000.

©2015 Los Angeles Times

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‘American Sniper’ Again Dominates Box Office; ‘Mortdecai’ Flops