Friday, January 30, 2015

'American Sniper' Likely to Retain Its #1 Spot Despite Lack of Katy Perry Intermission

Apparently there's a sporting event that people are going to be paying attention to this weekend? No idea what's up with that--I'll be catching up on my grocery shopping. Among the people who are going to movies instead of doing that other thing, it's looking like a good chunk of them will catch Clint Eastwood's American Sniper, enough to make it the #1 movie domestically for the third straight weekend. It's adding 180 theatres, bringing its theatre count to a record-breaking (for an R-rated movie) 3,885, and the money it earns this weekend should bring it within spitting distance (not sniping distance--that's much longer) of $250 million domestically.

Project Almanac
The found footage time travel flick Project Almanac is looking to poach some of our nation's teenagers, and the fact that it doesn't have any new release competition on that front should help. Less helpful: It is an awful film, with a 30% Rotten Tomatoes rating. Then again, Taken 3 had a surprisingly robust opening weekend of $39.2 million, and its approval rating was only 10%, so what do I know? Without any Liam Neeson-sized stars, though, Almanac will likely only pull in between $15 and $20 million. (Paramount's expectations are a more modest $10 to $12 million.)

Getting similarly bad reviews is Black or White, about a white man (Kevin Costner) fighting for custody of his granddaughter against her black grandmother (Octavia Spencer). If the stars align, it could squeak into the top five, though getting to the level of a $10 million gross is unlikely. Expect The Loft, Erik Van Looy's remake of his own 2008 Dutch thriller, to fare even worse. Unlike Black or White's Costner and Spencer, The Loft's cast--which includes James Marsden and Karl Urban--is recognizable but not really all that marketable. Marketing has been minor, and buzz has been lukewarm. On the plus side, it was probably cheap to make.

"Game of Thrones," The Watchers on the Wall
J.C. Chandor's A Most Violent Year is expanding to wide release after a month-long limited run that's earned it $1.3 million so far. And people with an interest in the future of exhibition will want to keep an eye on the theatrical release of HBO's blockbuster fantasy series "Game of Thrones," two episodes of which (season four's "The Watchers on the Wall" and season finale "The Children") are coming to 205 IMAX screens.

Among the specialty movies opening in New York and/or LA are the Jason Statham actioner Wild Card; the Oscar-nominated Timbuktu; Girlhood; and Shorts HD's release of the Oscar-nominated animated, live-action and documentary shorts.

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