(Photo by Europa Press/Contributor/Getty Images)
After breaking into the mainstream as smarm personified in Wedding Crashers, Bradley Cooper seemed poised for a career filled with rude comedies and rom-coms — and for a few years, his filmography threatened to live down to those limited expectations, with stuff like Failure to Launch and All About Steve surrounding his follow-up hit The Hangover. Once he had half a chance, however, Cooper flashed his dramatic chops, giving audiences a feel for what he could really do in Limitless before vaulting into the Oscar-nominated A-list with American Sniper, Silver Linings Playbook, and American Hustle. Factor in his MCU stint as the lovably misanthropic Rocket in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and it’s clear we’ve seen just the tip of what this multi-hyphenate talent can do. For further proof, here’s a look at all Bradley Cooper movies, rounded up and sorted by Tomatometer!
From peacetime to frontlines, from coming home to left behind: Rotten Tomatoes presents the 100 best-reviewed war movies of all time, ranked by Adjusted Tomatometer with at least 20 reviews each.
This weekend with all eyes on Super Bowl 50, studios refrained from opening anything new that was worthwhile allowing current champ Kung Fu Panda 3 to easily repeat at number one for a second time. The DreamWorks Animation offering fell 49% to an estimated $21M bumping the ten-day cume up to $69.1M. The last film in the franchise opened over Memorial Day weekend in the summer of 2011 and suffered a similar 50% sophomore fall. Panda 3 is now running 26% behind the pace of KFP2.
Oscar-winning directors the Coen Brothers saw an unimpressive second place debut for their new film Hail, Caesar! which opened to an estimated $11.4M from 2,232 locations for a moderate $5,125 average. The PG-13 satirical comedy boasted some big star names like George Clooney, Channing Tatum, and Scarlett Johansson and was met with mostly positive reviews from critics. However the response from paying audiences was different and those who did go out an see the film gave harsh marks as evidenced by the lousy C- CinemaScore grade.
Often, films from the Coens platform and expand later but Universal went wide from the start with Caesar. The result was a weekend gross slightly behind what the filmmakers saw over a decade ago with films like The Ladykillers and Intolerable Cruelty which both opened in the $12-13M range at a time when ticket prices were much less. Hail, Caesar! should fade fast thanks to poor word-of-mouth and intense competition next weekend from a trio of studio comedies.
Oscar player The Revenant dropped 44% to an estimated $7.1M boosting its cume to a robust $149.7M. The Fox release took home the coveted DGA prize on Saturday for its director Alejandro G. Iñárritu keeping it a major contender in what has been a tight and wide open race this year. On Monday, Revenant becomes the fifth film of Leonardo DiCaprio’s career to reach $150M domestically following Titanic, Catch Me If You Can, Inception, and Django Unchained.
Jedi power led to double milestones this weekend for Star Wars: The Force Awakens with the $900M domestic mark being broken on Friday and $2 billion global being shattered on Saturday. The Disney smash grossed an estimated $6.9M in its eighth weekend, off 38%, shooting the North American total up to $906M – the best for any movie in history.
Overseas markets contributed a similar $7M this weekend pushing the international cume to $1.1 billion and the global tally to $2.008 billion. Force‘s trajectory still puts it on course for a $2.05 billion finish with 55% coming from overseas. With $124.5M, China stands as the world’s number three market for the film after domestic and the U.K. But with the run nearing its end there, the figure is far from what numerous other Hollywood action films have done. The gross is just slightly better than what Captain America: The Winter Soldier did in China two years ago.
Two new female-skewing films were dropped into the marketplace on Super Bowl weekend as counter-programming but failed to create any excitement. The romance The Choice bowed to an estimated $6.1M from 2,631 locations for a weak $2,313 average for Lionsgate. Critics panned this latest PG-13 adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel.
Sony countered with the Jane Austen-inspired horror flick Pride and Prejudice and Zombies which was rejected with an estimated $5.2M debut. The PG-13 film averaged a dismal $1,774 from 2,931 locations. It had the smallest opening weekend among the new releases despite having the most theaters.
The Coast Guard rescue film The Finest Hours fell 54% to an estimated $4.7M in its second weekend bumping Disney’s cume up to $18.4M. Ride Along 2, the comedy forever to be known as the movie that ended the reign of The Force Awakens at number one, followed with an estimated $4.5M dropping 46%. Universal has banked $77.2M and the global gross cracked $100M.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $75.1M which was down 6% from last year’s Super Bowl frame when American Sniper stayed at number one with $30.7M; but up 14% from 2014’s football championship weekend when Ride Along remained in the top spot with $12M.
Compared to projections, Hail, Caesar! opened on target with my $11M forecast. The Choice and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies both opened below my respective predictions of $8M and $12M.
Get earlier box office updates and analysis by following BoxOfficeGuru.com on Twitter.
This weekend Oscar frontrunner Leonardo DiCaprio returned to the number one spot for the first time in six years with his current Best Picture contender The Revenant which climbed up into the top spot in its third round of nationwide release. The acclaimed revenge saga grossed an estimated $16M falling 50% from its take from last weekend. Cume to date for Fox is a hefty $119.2M. Though starring in many critical and commercial successes in recent years, DiCaprio has not had a number one hit since the summer blockbuster Inception which spent three weeks on top in 2010 and 11 total weeks in the top ten. Both movies, coincidentally, co-star Tom Hardy.
Films across the board were impacted by a major winter blizzard hitting the eastern half of the country affecting over 80 million people across 19 states. Studios hope to recover lost business in the days and weeks ahead, though higher quality pics with strong audience buzz are the ones most likely to do so. Hollywood is also expecting Sunday sales to take a hit from the annual football conference championship games which always deliver high TV ratings.
The juggernaut of all juggernauts Star Wars: The Force Awakens got to climb up one spot from third to second place with an estimated $14.3M, down 46%. Disney has amassed a huge $879.3M and looks on track to finish up in the $910-915M range from the domestic marketplace. With no major Oscar nominations to keep the juice going the way Avatar and Titanic had at this same point in their record runs, the BB8 pic is seeing normal declines for a sci-fi actioner.
Worldwide, Force has risen to $1.94 billion thanks to an international weekend estimate of $23.3M (-51%) pushing the offshore cume to $1.06 billion. The overseas total will probably not surpass Furious 7‘s. Just under 55% of the worldwide haul for Force has come from international markets led by the U.K. ($173.3M) and China ($112.7M). The latter has not been delivering results near industry highs. Instead, the final gross in China will probably be on par with the latest Mission: Impossible film while also ending up $100M below Avengers: Age of Ultron and a whopping $250M below Furious 7.
The global total for the seventh episode of Star Wars now looks on track to end at about $2.05 billion which is still monumental. The same mid-December launch period has been staked out by Disney this year and in 2017 for the next two films in the franchise – Rogue One and Episode VIII.
Last week’s top film Ride Along 2 tumbled in its sophomore frame falling 63% to an estimated $13M giving Universal $59.1M overall. The Ice Cube-Kevin Hart sequel is running 22% behind the pace of its 2014 predecessor which had banked $75.5M at this same point that January. A final gross in the $85-90M range should occur giving both actors another profitable hit.
The critically-panned comedy Dirty Grandpa bowed in fourth with an estimated $11.5M from 2,912 theaters for a mild $3,958 average. Pairing Robert De Niro with Zac Efron, the R-rated pic tried to go after a male audience hoping to appeal to guys of all ages. Horrible reviews kept many away and mediocre word-of-mouth from those who did pay to go see it will lead to above average erosion.
The haunted doll chiller The Boy opened close behind in fifth place with an estimated $11.3M from 2,671 sites for a decent $4,216 average. The PG-13 spookfest played to young women as expected with exit polls showing the crowd to be 62% female and 75% under 25. Latinos contributed heavily to the supernatural thriller’s weekend making up a strong 41% of the audience. Reviews were weak but the B- CinemaScore is not bad for the horror genre. Budget was just $10M.
Also targeting young females this weekend was the new Chloë Grace Moretz-led sci-fi thriller The 5th Wave which debuted in sixth place with an estimated $10.7M. Sony averaged a lukewarm $3,680 from 2,908 locations. Studio data showed that the audience for the PG-13 pic was 55% female and 62% under 25. The production cost was only $38M. Reviews were negative across the board and a weak B- CinemaScore grade means a shaky road ahead.
Michael Bay’s military drama 13 Hours followed dropping a reasonable 40% in its second weekend to an estimated $9.8M boosting the cume to $33.5M. Look for Paramount to finish at about $55M for the low-cost project. Studio stablemate Daddy’s Home was off 45% to an estimated $5.3M lifting the cume to $138.8M on its way to the $150M range.
Lionsgate’s toon offering Norm of the North grossed an estimated $3.5M, down 40%, and put its sum at a soft $14.3M. Academy Award nominee for Best Picture The Big Short had a good weekend slipping 34% to an estimated $3.5M and also winning the prestigious PGA prize on Saturday night. The last eight consecutive Oscar winners for Best Picture won at the PGAs beforehand so Short has now moved into a very high profile slot with weeks of Academy voting still to come. Cume is $56.7M with plenty of potential ahead.
Moviegoers continued to sample other Oscar contenders for Best Picture which posted great holds outside the top ten. Fox Searchlight’s Brooklyn eased just 7% to an estimated $1.7M for $27.5M to date. Room nearly tripled its screen count and shot up 88% to an estimated $1.4M giving A24 $8M. Spotlight, winner of many top prizes from journalist groups, slipped only 17% to an estimated $1.4M in its 12th weekend. Open Road has collected $33M so far.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $99.3M which was down 27% from last year when American Sniper stayed at number one with $64.6M; but up 6% from 2014 when Ride Along remained in the top spot with $21.3M.
This week on home video, we’ve got Clint Eastwood’s uber-successful war film starring Bradley Cooper, a comedy sequel that misfired badly, and some worthwhile TV to catch up on. Read on for details:
For his latest film, director Clint Eastwood chose the story of Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle, who served four tours of duty in Iraq and racked up so many kills that he earned the nickname “Legend.” Based on Kyle?s own autobiography of the same name, the film splits time between Kyle’s (played by Bradley Cooper) exploits in battle — where his reputation earns him a rivalry with a deadly enemy sniper — and his life at home — where he marries his wife (Sienna Miller), has kids, and finds it difficult to readjust. Though some have criticized the film for its historical accuracy, most critics agreed that Eastwood’s direction and some fine performances work to deliver a gripping story. American Sniper went on to gross over $500 million at the box office, and it earned six Oscar nominations (including Best Picture and Best Actor for Cooper’s performance), winning one for Best Sound Editing. Politics aside, it’s one of the better war films to come out in recent memory, and it received a Certified Fresh 73 percent on the Tomatometer.
Back in 2010, Hot Tub Time Machine proved it was more than a joke title when it earned fairly positive reviews and some decent money. Whether or not its premise was ripe for a second go-round, though, was decidedly answered by its successor, Hot Tub Time Machine 2, which didn’t even earn back its $14 million budget. The film follows up with three of the four previous time travelers (John Cusack wisely opted out), who this time jump to the future in pursuit of a mysterious assailant who has shot Lou (Rob Corddry) in his naughty parts. Looking for Adam, they meet his son (Adam Scott) instead, and together, the gang attempt to solve the mystery. Most critics felt HTTM2 was a lazily written, juvenile exercise in potty humor and unlikable characters, earning it a paltry 14 percent on the Tomatometer. You’re probably better off seeking out an actual hot tub and soaking for a couple hours.
Leviathan (2014) (99 percent), the Certified Fresh Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nominee from Russia about a man and his wife battling to keep the land that has been in his family for generations.
Strange Magic (2015) (18 percent), an animated musical fairy tale about goblins, elves, and the like fighting each other over a magical potion.
Orange Is the New Black‘s second season, Certified Fresh at 97 percent, is available on DVD and Blu-ray.
Boardwalk Empire is now available in a Complete Series Boxset on DVD or Blu-ray.
Welcome to Sweden‘s first season (82 percent) is available on DVD.
Glee‘s sixth season, as well as a complete series set, is available.
The Super Bowl frame was dominated by the blockbuster holdover American Sniper which easily sprinted past all competitors to gross an estimated $31.9M in its third round of nationwide play. Off a sizable 51%, the Warner Bros. smash has raised its total to a jaw-dropping $248.9M with plenty more to come as it heads towards the $300M club.
After a record-shattering nationwide opening weekend of $89.3M followed by a sensational hold in its next frame with $64.6M, off a mere 28%, Sniper suffered a much bigger hit this time around. Competition from the Super Bowl was a factor as many films, especially those targeting adult men, routinely see Saturday-to-Sunday tumbles of around 70% or so on the day of the Big Game thus impacting the weekend drop. But the Clint Eastwood-directed hit experienced a larger Super Bowl weekend fall than other January military dramas like Lone Survivor (45% last year), Zero Dark Thirty (47% in 2013), and Black Hawk Down (35% in 2002).
New releases all posted lackluster results in the single digit millions so competition from those films was minimal. Where Sniper did see an impact was from losing half of its IMAX screens which this weekend went to Game of Thrones, another Warner Bros. title. The IMAX portion of the gross took a 75% nosedive from $5.8M in 333 sites last weekend to $1.5M in 165 screens this time. And after a couple of weeks of mainstream media attention for a list of so-called controversies, buzz may be fading now.
If the weekend estimate holds, American Sniper will edge out by a hair the record for the biggest Super Bowl weekend gross ever which has been held for seven years by another early-year box office phenomenon – Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: The Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour. That 3D fan pic bowed to $31.1M this weekend in 2008 from only 683 theaters for a jaw-dropping $45,561 average powered by tween girls and higher ticket prices. Sniper’s take came in its third weekend of wide play, while Hannah’s tally came from a much more narrow release in 3,000 fewer theaters. Both were amazing in their own ways.
Sniper has been taking all the oxygen out of the marketplace these last three weeks as other films have barely been able to grab any part of the box office pie. By next weekend it may have more in ticket sales than all other Best Picture Oscar contenders combined.
Family audiences continued to flock to see Paddington which dropped by only 31% to an estimated $8.5M for a new total of $50.5M for The Weinstein Co. According to studio estimates, it finished in a tie for second place.
The teen sci-fi saga Project Almanac from producer Michael Bay opened to lackluster results with an estimated $8.5M as well posting a dull $2,938 average from 2,893 locations. Paramount gave the super-producer’s project a very wide release but not enough of the target audience was interested in coming out for the PG-13 pic. Studio data showed that the crowd was 55% male and 63% under 25. The $12M budgeted pic should find better results later on home entertainment platforms.
Kevin Costner stumbled into fourth place with his latest film Black or White which debuted to an estimated $6.5M from 1,823 locations for a weak $3,541 average. The PG-13 race relations drama earned mostly yawns from film critics and a marketplace full of Oscar contenders gave older adults more promising options. It was the third film in 12 months that Costner anchored only to see sluggish sales on opening weekend. Last year’s Draft Day and 3 Days to Kill opened wider and somewhat bigger, but still did not impress despite both having pricey Super Bowl TV spots. The Academy Award winner has yet another offering on deck, Disney’s McFarland, USA on February 20.
Jennifer Lopez saw her latest film The Boy Next Door tumble a steep 59% in its second weekend to an estimated $6.1M for a cume of $24.7M for Universal. That is a good amount for the low-budget thriller which cost only $4M to produce, plus more for marketing. In its third weekend, Kevin Hart’s The Wedding Ringer slipped 50% to an estimated $5.7M for a new total of $48.1M for Sony.
Oscar contender The Imitation Game enjoyed another great hold from those interested in the top awards titles. The Weinstein Co. pic declined by 26% to an estimated $5.2M bumping the cume up to $68M – second best among all Best Picture nominees behind just Eastwood’s soldier juggernaut. Taken 3 followed with an estimated $3.7M, down 51%, giving Fox $81.4M to date. The George Lucas pet project Strange Magic dropped a reasonable 38% from its dismal debut to an estimated $3.4M. Disney has taken in just $9.9M so far.
Bouncing around the release calendars and finally making its way into theaters was the thriller The Loft which was rejected by audiences collecting a puny $2.9M from 1,841 locations for a terrible $1,564 average. The R-rated film was low on starpower and awareness plus was met with poor reviews. Open Road dumped it into a crowded marketplace and was never going to find any success.
Warner Bros. collected some cash with the exclusive IMAX release of the acclaimed HBO series Game of Thrones and grossed an estimated $1.5M from 205 locations for a solid $7,322 average. The offering included the final two episodes of the last season, upgraded to IMAX standards, plus a sneak peek into the upcoming fifth season which debuts in April.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $82.2M which was up a healthy 25% from last year when Ride Along stayed at number one with $12M; and up 27% from 2013 when Warm Bodies debuted on top with $20.4M.
Moviegoers continued to flock to the multiplexes in record numbers to see the runaway smash American Sniper which once again led the box office by a mile and quickly became the highest-grossing film of Clint Eastwood’s 60-year career. The Warner Bros. blockbuster grossed an estimated $64.4M in its second weekend of nationwide play, slipping only 28% in the process, and making as much as the next seven films combined. Fueled by six Academy Award nominations, patriotism, great marketing, and starpower, the R-rated soldier story posted the fourth biggest second weekend gross in box office history for a non-sequel. The only bigger ones in their sophomore frames were The Avengers, Avatar, and Spider-Man which were all mega-budgeted epics. For Sniper to join this type of company is phenomenal.
The Chris Kyle saga has now grossed a total of $200.1M domestically which already beats the $148.1M of Eastwood’s top grossing film ever, Gran Torino which he directed and starred in. Playing in 3,705 locations including 333 with IMAX screens, the controversial hit averaged a spectacular $17,372 this weekend. With such a low decline plus continued heat from Oscar buzz and word-of-mouth, American Sniper should be able to soar past $350M and may even challenge the record for the top grossing R-rated film of all-time. That mark is still held by 2004’s The Passion of the Christ at $370.3M.
Sniper has sparked much talk in many circles and has its fans and detractors. This type of debate is so lucrative and attracts ticket buyers across several groups, helping grosses swell. Though it is not among the favorites to actually win the Best Picture Oscar, Sniper will continue to enjoy many weeks of being a contender which is good enough to keep smashing box office records and help theaters sell more popcorn. Only two times has any film ever grossed more on a January weekend – Sniper last weekend, and Avatar‘s $68.5M over the New Year’s holiday weekend in 2010 when it was in its third session. Movies just don’t draw in this large of a crowd at this time of year.
American Sniper also continued its international roll-out where patriotism is not as big of a factor in pulling in cash. Still it is posting new career highs for Eastwood. This weekend saw openings in 17 new territories including Australia, Hong Kong, and Scandanavia for a $17.6M frame raising the offshore total to $47.5M and the global gross to $247.6M. Five of the world’s top ten overseas markets are still to open between now and Oscar night.
Jennifer Lopez anchored her first hit movie in nearly a decade with the thriller The Boy Next Door which took second place with an estimated $15M. Averaging a solid $5,765 from 2,602 locations, the low-budget $4M production earned an opening weekend gross that was nearly four times its production cost. Despite bad reviews, audiences came out for the starpower as well as the effective trailers and TV spots. The R-rated pic took advantage of Lopez’s appeal as studio research showed that the audience was 71% female, 51% over 30, and 45% Latino. Moviegoers were not too thrilled with the product and its lackluster B- CinemaScore grade indicates a fast fade ahead for Universal.
Well-reviewed kidpic Paddington fared nicely in its second weekend grossing an estimated $12.4M, off 35%. The Weinstein Co. title has banked an impressive $40.1M to date heading to the $75M neighborhood. Kevin Hart’s comedy The Wedding Ringer dropped a reasonable 44% to an estimated $11.6M, also in its sophomore session. Sony has collected $39.7M and should find its way to around $65M.
Liam Neeson’s franchise hit Taken 3 dropped 48% to an estimated $7.6M for fifth place and raised its cume to $76.1M for Fox. Breaking $100M domestic seems unlikely for the third and final chapter. Oscar contender The Imitation Game expanded again and saw its weekend take rise 5% to an estimated $7.1M. The Weinstein Co. release has taken in $60.6M surpassing rival The Grand Budapest Hotel to become the second highest-grossing Best Picture nominee after Sniper. Reaching $90M is possible.
The animated film Strange Magic bombed in seventh with an estimated $5.5M from 3,020 sites for a wimpy $1,832 average. Produced and conceptualized by George Lucas, the PG-rated fairy flick earned poor reviews and failed to generate any kind of excitement with families. Plus competition from the well-liked Paddington which was only in its second week was a big factor.
Best Picture contender Selma followed with an estimated $5.5M, down 37%, for a new cume of $39.2M for Paramount which is still an underwhelming figure for an Oscar contender with so much love from both critics and audiences. Over 300,000 tickets have been given away to students for free, paid for by local business leaders, contributing about $2-3M of the gross. Even with many getting to see the acclaimed MLK movie at no cost, Selma looks on track to end its run below such real-life dramas as Ray, Coach Carter, 42, and The Butler. Three weeks into its wide release and its total is still below the $48.2M final of Malcolm X from 22 years ago when ticket prices were half as much.
More bad news for Johnny Depp who has seen his star wattage fade consistently over the past few years. His umpteenth kooky role in Mortdecai drew yawns with a dismal opening of an estimated $4.1M. Averaging an awful 1,558 from 2,648 theaters, the R-rated pricey $60M comedy never excited audiences and attracted bad reviews across the board. Competition for adults was fierce with mainstream films plus Oscar contenders hogging up the spotlight. There was just no reason for interested ticket buyers to choose this option. This follows terrible results for last April’s sci-fi flop Transcendence, 2013’s big budget disaster Lone Ranger, and 2012’s Dark Shadows which also did not impress. Picking better projects will help the star.
Rounding out the top ten was Depp again with his tiny role in Into The Woods which fell 43% to an estimated $3.9M bumping the domestic total to a nice $121.5M.
Below the top ten, Jennifer Aniston’s Cake failed to make much of a dent in its debut opening to an estimated $1M from 482 locations for a weak $2,075 average. Generating plenty of attention from Aniston’s many talk show appearances as well as her acclaimed performance being snubbed by the Oscars, the R-rated drama could not compete in a marketplace where adults had so many interesting Academy Award-endorsed options to choose from. Plus reviews were not encouraging.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $137.1M which was up 47% from last year when Ride Along stayed at number one with $21.3M; and up 69% from 2013 when Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters debuted on top with $19.7M.
The Oscar nominees were announced last Thursday, and we here at Rotten Tomatoes have been pretty fortunate to sit down and chat with a whole lot of them. If you’re still unsure who to root for in the Best Picture race, or you’d just like a little more info on the films being honored on February 22, check out our various interviews with the casts and filmmakers of Selma, The Theory of Everything, Nightcrawler, American Sniper, The Hobbit, and more.
In a box office shocker, Clint Eastwood’s soldier drama American Sniper starring Bradley Cooper vaulted into nationwide release doubling expectations and shattering records in the process. Marketed and distributed brilliantly by Warner Bros., the R-rated pic soared to a towering $90.2M over the Friday-to-Sunday period, according to studio estimates, delivering a scorching $25,373 average from 3,555 locations including 332 venues with IMAX screens. These were summer numbers in January!
It was the largest opening weekend of all-time for the entire December through February winter period. This was never expected as Sniper debuted bigger than tentpoles like Avatar and every Hobbit film despite not having any 3D surcharges. Including three weeks of platform play, the cume stands at $93.6M.
To say this weekend gross is astonishing would be an understatement as most industry insiders were expecting a figure in the $40M range which itself would have been stellar. The all-time record for the biggest opening weekend during this month was Ride Along’s $41.5M a year ago. And the best overall weekend gross ever in January was $68.5M from Avatar in 2010 over the New Year’s holiday session Jan 1-3 in its third round. Sniper shot well ahead of both proving once again that for the right product, audiences will show up at any time of the year. The three-day figure even beat the $89.1M five-day debut weekend of the latest Hobbit film from last month.
The record weekend started with $30.5M on Friday including $5.3M from Thursday night pre-shows. Saturday climbed a healthy 14% to $34.7M while Sunday was estimated to drop by 28% to $25M. Sunday’s NFL conference championship games are expected to offer a distraction to the target audience. Warners is projecting a 40% drop on Monday to $15M for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. $9.5M of the three-day gross (11%) came from IMAX venues.
Many factors contributed to the sizzling hot performance. Certainly Eastwood has a loyal fan base and his Gran Torino bowed to $29.5M in January 2009 after its own successful platform run. Bradley Cooper provided on-screen starpower and was key in broadening the film’s appeal to women and younger adults. The 84-year-old double Oscar winner’s pics normally skew very old. The nationwide expansion was planned for one day after Academy Award nominations were to be announced and Sniper picked up six nods including Best Actor and Best Picture which just added to the must-see buzz. Warners did a masterful job executing the marketing especially with an assortment of truly effective and engaging TV spots. Reviews were mostly very good and the film tapped into American patriotism with a soldier’s true story, especially at a time when real-life news events were putting people on high alert.
Audiences polled by CinemaScore loved American Sniper as it earned a glowing A+ not just overall, but across all four quadrants. Studio data showed that males made up 57% of the crowd and 63% were over 25 which was a lower rate than Eastwood films normally see. Sniper also had the distinction of needing only two days of wide release to jump from being the lowest grossing Best Picture nominee this year to being the top one.
Among other records, American Sniper was the best career debut ever for both Eastwood and Cooper. Plus it came within a hair of becoming the biggest opening weekend of all-time for R-rated films. The Matrix Reloaded has held that mark for nearly 12 years and will keep the title with $91.8M after a Thursday launch in May 2003. Among dramas about the U.S. military which open in limited release in December for Oscar consideration and then expand nationwide in January, American Sniper’s opening wide weekend was as much as Lone Survivor, Zero Dark Thirty, and Black Hawk Down’s combined!
The road ahead is bright for Sniper which opened in the same range as some of last summer’s biggest tentpoles like Godzilla plus the Spider-Man and X-Men sequels. With Oscar buzz, audience praise, and mild competition, Eastwood’s smash hit will continue to shatter box office records in the days and weeks to come, probably crossing $200M.
Last year’s hottest comedy star Kevin Hart took second place with his latest offering The Wedding Ringer which debuted well to an estimated $21M from 3,003 locations for a strong $6,993 average. It was the widest debut ever in a lead role for the funnyman but still came in below the debuts of his three hits from last year including Ride Along which bowed on top this same weekend with double the numbers at $41.5M. Unlike those other films, the R-rated Ringer did not feature any big names as co-stars. Budgeted at just $23M, The Wedding Ringer should go on to be a moneymaker thanks in part to Hart’s star wattage and dedicated promotional push on the campaign trail. Audiences liked what they got as the CinemaScore grade was a good A-.
The kidpic Paddington got off to a good start with families opening in third with an estimated $19.3M over the Friday-to-Sunday period. Averaging a respectable $5,839 from 3,303 locations, the PG-rated comedy fared very well with critics and audiences alike earning solid reviews plus an A grade from CinemaScore. A lack of options for younger children helped as did a school holiday weekend. Paddington’s debut was almost identical to the animated film The Nut Job’s from this same weekend last year.
Liam Neeson got shoved aside by Sniper as his number one hit Taken 3 tumbled 64% in its second weekend from first to fourth place with an estimated $14.1M. The Fox hit has banked $62.8M to date. Paramount’s acclaimed Selma followed with an estimated $8.3M, off 27% in its second session of wide play. Despite rave reviews, an Oscar nod for Best Picture, and this being MLK weekend, the Oprah-backed film still is not bringing out large crowds and averaged a mild $3,714 for the frame. Cume is $26M which is below the $27.5M that the Jackie Robinson drama 42 grossed in just its first three days.
Another Best Picture contender followed, The Imitation Game with an estimated $7.2M remaining flat with last weekend. The Weinstein Co. has collected $50.8M to date. With its three Academy Award nods, Into The Woods took in an estimated $6.5M dropping 32% and lifting Disney’s total to $114.3M.
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies fell 48% to an estimated $4.9M giving Warner Bros. $244.5M which is roughly equal to the cume that The Desolation of Smaug had at the same point last year after 33 days. Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken followed with an estimated $4.3M for Universal, off 47%, for a new sum of $108.6M.
Chris Hemsworth tried to become a solo action anchor but failed miserably with the cybercrime thriller Blackhat which was ignored by moviegoers. The R-rated pic debuted to just $4M, according to estimates, from 2,567 locations for a wimpy $1,558 average. Reviews were bad and the few who did come out and pay to see it also were disappointed as evidenced by its lousy C- CinemaScore. Luckily, Hemsworth will rebound in May when he joins his super hero pals in Avengers: Age of Ultron hoping to shatter records.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $179.7M which was up 22% from last year when Ride Along opened at number one with $41.5M; and up a stellar 67% from 2013 when Mama debuted on top with $28.4M.
Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller share with Mark Seman the challenges they faced in telling a real-life story in American Sniper, and Chris Kyle’s widow Taya Kyle discusses how everyone can relate to her husband’s story–not just families of the people serving our country.
The Oscar nominations are out, and soon, everybody’s going to be hotly debating which of the nominees will be crowned Best Picture on Feb. 22. We at RT are here to get you up to speed, so with that in mind, here’s a quick overview of the contenders:
Powered by Clint Eastwood’s sure-handed direction and a gripping central performance from Bradley Cooper, American Sniper delivers a tense, vivid tribute to its real-life subject. “It’s a gritty, confident portrait of a man whose life may have been somewhat messier than this Hollywood version,” wrote Richard Corliss of Time Magazine.
A thrilling leap forward for director Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman is an ambitious technical showcase that features a layered story and outstanding performances from Michael Keaton and Edward Norton. “It’s a quasi-religious fable about a man haunted by the past and facing a profound moral and existential crisis in the present, and it’s a dazzling display of virtuoso cinematic technique and showboat performances,” wrote Andrew O’Hehir of Salon.com.
Epic in technical scale but breathlessly intimate in narrative scope, Boyhood is a sprawling investigation of the human condition and an unqualified triumph for director Richard Linklater. “Few filmmakers ever make a great movie,” wrote Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle. “Fewer still ever make a movie that expands what movies can express. Richard Linklater does both with Boyhood.”
Typically stylish but deceptively thoughtful, The Grand Budapest Hotel finds Wes Anderson once again using ornate visual environments to explore deeply emotional ideas. “If a movie can be elegantly zany, this wholly imaginative, assured fable of a legendary concierge Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes), his protégé Zero (Tony Revolori) and the murder of a countess, is it,” wrote Lisa Kennedy of the Denver Post.
With an outstanding starring performance from Benedict Cumberbatch illuminating its fact-based story, The Imitation Game serves as an eminently well-made entry in the “prestige biopic” genre. “The Imitation Game leaves Turing’s essential mysteries intact, but they will nonetheless find even the most public contours his story ripe with drama, excitement and deeply affecting resonance,” wrote Ann Hornaday of the Washington Post.
Fueled by a spellbinding performance from David Oyelowo, Selma draws inspiration and dramatic power from the life and death of Martin Luther King, Jr. — but doesn’t ignore how far we remain from the ideals his work embodied. “History becomes breathtaking drama in Selma; there’s an urgent realism in the storytelling, as if we’re seeing this just in time,” wrote Moira MacDonald of the Seattle Times.
Part biopic of Stephen Hawking, part love story, The Theory of Everything rises on James Marsh’s polished direction and the strength of leads Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones. “What Redmayne does is breathtaking-and it never feels like a performance,” wrote Chris Nashawaty of Entertainment Weekly. “In a much less showy role, Jones does her own heartbreaking work as the woman who dedicated her life to loving and caring for Hawking.”
Intense, inspiring, and well-acted, Whiplash is a brilliant sophomore effort from director Damien Chazelle and a riveting vehicle for stars J.K. Simmons and Miles Teller. Music instruction and combat are rarely linked in movies, and particularly not in the singularly riveting way they come together in Whiplash,” wrote Claudia Puig of USA Today.