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Box Office: ‘American Sniper’ Crushes More Records; Depp Dies, ‘Selma’ Sinks

Man alive, if you thought the Left was bitterly angry last week over the success of a film that portrays the War On Terror as a righteous cause, wait until they get a load of this weekend’s box office. “American Sniper” doesn’t just have legs, it has a concrete pedestal that even Leftist Kryptonite can’t crumble.

After blowing through a half-dozen box office records last week, Clint Eastwood’s masterpiece blasted through more this weekend. What was expected to be a $40-$50 million second weekend (in wide release) is looking closer to $62 million. Don’t be surprised, though, if that number continues to be revised upwards.

That $62 million represents a drop of only -32% over last weekend. Studio heads dream of holds like that, especially after a brutal 2014 that saw tentpole after tentpole crash by -50% to -70% weekend after weekend.

According to Deadline, that $62 million represents the second-highest gross for any film in January (the record holder is “Sniper’s” own $89.3 million last weekend).

By Monday, “Sniper” will either sit at $200 million or be a weekday or two away from crossing that magic threshold.

This weekend’s other big box office news is the early but painful death of Johnny Depp’s “Mortdecai.”  The $60 million R-rated comedy of manners directed by screenwriting superstar David Keopp (“Jurassic Park,” “Mission: Impossible”) opened to a humiliating $4.6 million at nearly 2700 theatres. Personally, I have never seen a mainstream film launch a more off-putting publicity campaign. I am and remain a Johnny Depp fan, but this looked more painfully unfunny than a trip to the dentist.

After “Transcendence,” “Dark Shadows,” and “The Lone Ranger,” “Mortdecai” is Depp’s 4th big-budget catastrophe in a row (where he’s the top star). Depp’s young (only 51) and incredibly talented. When the history of his career is written, this will be remembered only as a rough patch. He’ll rebound, maybe as soon as September when his Whitey Bulger biopic “Black Mass” hits screens.

Jennifer Lopez scored with “The Boy Next Door” this weekend. The ultra-low budget thriller opened to $15.3 million.

The dreadful “Taken 3” appears to be flaming out much faster than its predecessors. After 3 weeks, it sits at only $75 million. “Taken” and “Taken 2” earned domestic grosses of $145 million and $139 million, respectively. That does not appear to be in the cards for the unwatchable threequel.

Unlike every other Best Picture nominee enjoying a box office boost, producer Oprah Winfrey’s Civil Rights drama “Selma” continues to sink by double digits. After 5 weeks, “Selma” has earned a measly $39.5 million and lost -37% of its audience over last weekend. The only other Best Pic nom to go backwards was “The Imitation Game” with just a -3% loss.

On top of “Snipers” record success, every other Best Pic nom still in theaters  increased it audience.

John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC

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