American Sniper is a phenom. Even the best predictions were $25+ million off last weekend. Astounding for a January release. Could we have predicted from the title alone that it was better than double Lone Survivor? Might January become patriotic military cinema month? $53.5 million is my call for the weekend, gaining Academy momentum in a big way.
Give The Boy Next Door this – they know who the audience is. The trailers are steamy and forbidden – catnip for the 50 Shades crowd. And really, who hasn’t been there? My teenage neighbors hit on me constantly. This film, like the fella in it, will perform well, to the tune of $19.5 million.
Strange Magic is in that weird place of being not quite a normal looking animation. I have seen trailers, so they are marketing, but it’s not a sequel or a Pixar – though there’s a chance Disney Animation has made another “more Pixar than Pixar” film. I missed the screening (because there wasn’t one here in Seattle), so I’m shooting in the dark here. $15.6 million is where I’ll start the bidding.
Which brings us to Johnny Depp’s Mortdecai. Not screened for critics, and looking just terrible in the trailers, I expect this to have about 60 percent of Dark Shadows reach. As famous as Johnny Depp is, there’s at least eight examples over the last decade of average to subpar openings for his films. True, he chooses odd projects, but once you get past Pirates and Alice in Wonderland, there’s not much meat on the bone. I’m predicting $11.7 million, the weakest of our new crop. There’s just no built-in demo here.
It’s up to you now, predictions away!
SIDE NOTE: Some of the theater numbers below are estimates. We’ll have the actual counts in Sunday’s wrap-up article.