Three brand-new movies—”The Wedding Ringer,” “Paddington” and “Blackhat”—are opening nationwide over the long Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend, However, all three movies will finish behind war drama “American Sniper.”
This weekend “American Sniper” is expanding to 3,555 locations following a three-week run in limited release. Since Christmas, the Clint Eastwood war drama earned $3.4 million domestically. It’s an amazing feat considering Sniper was only playing at four locations.
This movie has a ton momentum thanks to some sizable award buzz, including six Academy Award nominations including best film and an acting nod for Bradley Cooper.
In just a few days this movie has gone from just another war movie, to one people have to see in theatres. If word-of-mouth is good or great, “American Sniper” could set a January opening record. And hey, Clint Eastwood could use a strong opening. Last year his “Jersey Boys” film opened with just $13.3 million, and “J. Edgar” opened to $11.2 million in 2011. Sniper should crush those debuts with around $45 million this weekend.
Get ready for some more short jokes, because this weekend Kevin Hart returns to the big screen with the R-rated comedy “The Wedding Ringer.” The comedy will be playing in over 3,000 theaters, probably because in January 2014 Hart set a January opening record when his buddy cop comedy “Ride Along” opened to $41 million.
It’s unlikely “The Wedding Ringer” will come close to matching that number. But “The Wedding Ringer” should still open with a strong $25 million over the long holiday weekend.
At 3,303 locations, “Paddington” will be the go to choice for family moviegoers this weekend. The movie was originally scheduled to open on Christmas Day; recognizing how crowded the day was with other films, the Weinstein Company moved “Paddington” back to mid January.
There’s a couple of things that could help this movie: It has great reviews (98 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), and a solid marketing effort led by one of its stars, Nicole Kidman. “Paddington” should open in third place with around $20 million.
And finally, opening at 2,567 theaters, Michael Mann’s “Blackhat” will probably be the bomb of the week. Basically this movie is fighting for the same audience as “American Sniper,” and guess what? “American Sniper” is gonna win.
If the movie is really lucky, “Blackhat” will earn $10 million this weekend, but I seriously doubt it. Sorry Thor. But hey, at least Age of Ultron is only a couple of months away.