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Whisper Numbers: American Sniper aims for the record



A crowded holiday weekend at the box office is shaping up to be a potential record breaker. Warner Bros. wisely chose this weekend to expand American Sniper [AMSNP] as the R-rated drama secured six Oscar nominations including Best Picture and Best Actor for Bradley Cooper [BCOOP]. Clint Eastwood [CEAST] directed the R-rated war drama about the real-life soldier Chris Kyle, a tragic story that appeals to both liberals and conservatives. Last year, another movie about U.S. military heroics Lone Survivor debuted to $37.8 million over a 3-day weekend.  Advance ticket sales are already pointing to a bigger opening than Taken 3’s $39 million. Expanding into 3555 theaters, American Sniper may well set a new MLK weekend record with $49 million through Monday.

After ruling MLK weekend last year with a record $48.6 million for Ride Along, Kevin Hart [KHART] is back with another R-rated comedy, The Wedding Ringer [WEDRN]. While the Sony release has an original premise, the high-concept may be too outlandish even for a movie. Co-star Josh Gad [JGAD] may help broaden the audience, but he is not as popular as Ice Cube. The Wedding Ringer could walk away with $26 million from 3003 locations.

Taken 3 [TAKE3] still had plenty of fans. The action sequel could score another $22 million over the 4-day weekend.

The Weinstein Co. targets family moviegoers with Paddington [PADTN]. While immensely popular in its native England, the talking bear is not as familiar in America and could be too British for some parents. Opening in 3303 theaters, Paddington may stuff $19 million through the holiday weekend.

Chris Hemsworth toplines Blackhat [CYBER], a timely thriller about cyber-terrorism. However, the R-rated film has earned director Michael Mann [MMANN] some of his worst reviews. Universal has provided a minimal marketing campaign. Hacking into 2567 theaters, Blackhat could uncover $12 million over the long weekend.

After a weaker than expected expansion, Selma [SELMA] secured only two Oscar nominations, for Best Picture and Best Song. The MLK holiday weekend should help boost attendance for a film about Martin Luther King Jr..  Selma could gather another $11 million.

That’s the whisper from the virtual trading floor.



Tag(s): AMSNP, BCOOP, CEAST, KHART, WEDRN, JGAD, TAKE3, PADTN, CYBER, MMANN, SELMA

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By Box Office Whisperer on Thursday, January 15, 2015 @ 04:10 PM        2265 views


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