American Sniper has been timed about as well as you can do it, sort of the anti-Paramount method used on Selma. Six Oscar nominations, plus a coveted Best Picture slot means this film will smash the box office like a ton of bricks. The trailers haven’t hurt either, promising a riveting action film. Factor in Lone Survivor‘s performance in the same time period last year and it’s easy to predict a big weekend for Clint Eastwood‘s latest. Does it matter that the film is 73 percent on RottenTomatoes and not, erm, very good? Nope! Let’s give it $48 million and immediately try and repress the whole thing.
Paddington bear is your family film of the weekend, surrounded by R rated fare. I haven’t seen many trailers, but then again I haven’t been traveling in the right channels over the past few weeks. $18 million feels like a reasonable number, only 2 million tickets, plus it’s getting over 3,000 theaters. Not much reason to predict against this unless you project there’s not enough awareness.
The Wedding Ringer is your comedy film, and it will bring in comedy fans. When’s the last time we had a comedy? Horrible Bosses 2? Kevin Hart has the current title as movie funny fella, he’s pumping out three a year, but they are all making money. He’s a really safe box office bet right now, let’s award it $16.8 million and another successful run.
Blackhat is the final entrant into our contest, and it’s flat out horrible. A Michael Mann film in January? What’s going on with the world? The trailers for this can’t be salvaged, as there might not even be two minutes of solid content. This one is going to sink like a stone, y’all. $12 million will be the opening, and then it will never be heard from again.
Your turn! Get in there! Will the box office bumps for Oscar films hurt the new releases? Figure it out, predictions away.
SIDE NOTE: Some of the theater numbers below are estimates. We’ll have the actual counts in Sunday’s wrap-up article.