Weekend Report (cont.): Solid Starts for 'Ringer,' 'Paddington,' While 'Blackhat' Bombs
<< Continued from "Weekend Report: 'Sniper' Sets January Record with Stunning $90 Million Debut"

In a distant second place, The Wedding Ringer opened to an estimated $20.6 million at 3,003 locations. That's the fourth $20-million-plus debut in a row for Kevin Hart, following Ride Along, About Last Night (2014) and Think Like a Man Too. At the same time, it's slightly concerning that this only opened to half as much as Ride Along, which took in $41.5 million on the same weekend last year.

More so than on previous movies, Kevin Hart was the primary selling point for The Wedding Ringer. This calls to mind last Summer's Tammy, which opened at the same level ($21.6 million) and was sold entirely on Melissa McCarthy's star power. In both cases, the $20-million-plus opening reinforces how popular the star is. As with Tammy, though, The Wedding Ringer's opening was a big drop off from Hart's previous movies. It will be interesting to see if Hart can reverse this downward trend in March, when he stars opposite Will Ferrell in Get Hard.

With solid word-of-mouth ("A-" CinemaScore) and no serious comedy competition on the horizon, The Wedding Ringer should ultimately wind up with at least $55 million.

Paddington wasn't far behind with $19 million. That's essentially on par with The Nut Job, which opened to $19.4 million over the same weekend last year. For a family-friendly movie that's already a hit overseas, this is a very solid start.

The Weinstein Company originally had Paddington scheduled for Christmas Day, but smartly moved it out of that slot and to this less competitive January date. With great word-of-mouth ("A" CinemaScore) and stellar reviews (98 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), Paddington should hold up really well in the coming weeks; don't be surprised if this winds up over $70 million.

After leading the box office last weekend, Taken 3 plummeted 63 percent to an estimated $14.5 million. That steep drop is due to strong upfront demand from fans of the franchise, unenthusiastic word-of-mouth on this new installment, and intense competition from American Sniper. Taken 3 has so far earned $63.4 million, and is now on track to close below $100 million.

Selma added $8.8 million this weekend, which was off 22 percent from opening weekend. That's a very good hold, and can be attributed to the movie's Best Picture nomination, strong word-of-mouth, and its connection to the holiday weekend. To date, Selma has earned $26 million.

After receiving eight Oscar nominations on Thursday, The Imitation Game was off six percent to $6.8 million this weekend. On Sunday, it passed $50 million.

Opening at 2,567 theaters, Blackhat earned a miniscule $3.8 million this weekend. That's director Michael Mann's lowest opening since Manhunter in 1986. It's also one of the worst debuts ever for a movie playing in over 2,500 locations.

This terrible debut can be attributed partly to the enormous strength of American Sniper, which was a far more appealing option for people looking for adults looking for an R-rated action movie. Even without Sniper, though, Blackhat was going to have a tough time: the look of it seemed off (Mann's trademark style was an odd fit) and it was really tough to buy "Sexiest Man Alive" Chris Hemsworth as "a Blackhat hacker named Hathaway."

With poor reviews and weak word-of-mouth ("C-" CinemaScore), this movie is going to fall of quickly from here; it wouldn't be surprising if this fell short of $10 million total.

After garnering five Oscar nominations on Thursday, Foxcatcher finally expanded nationwide this weekend. Playing at 759 locations, the drama added $980,000 for a new total of $9.9 million.

Playing at 12 locations, Still Alice earned an estimated $197,000 this weekend. That translates to a solid $16,417 per-theater average. The movie should continue to do solid business over the next month or two as moviegoers seek out Julianne Moore's Oscar-nominated performance.

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'Sniper' Sets Sights on January Record

Last Weekend

'Taken 3' Scores Third-Highest January Opening Ever

This Timeframe in Past Years:

• 2014 -
'Ride Along' Cruises to January Record

• 2013 - 'Mama' Haunts First Place Over MLK Weekend

• 2012 - 'Contraband' Hijacks MLK Weekend

• 2011 - 'Green Hornet Kicks Into Top Gear Over MLK Weekend

• 2010 - 'Avatar' Reigns with Record MLK Gross

• 2009 - 'Paul Blart' Does Part in Record MLK Weekend

• 2008 - 'Cloverfield' Clobbers MLK Record

• 2007 - 'Stomp' Steps Up

• 2006 - 'Glory Road' Glides Past 'Hoodwinked' in MLK Photo Finish

• 2005 - 'Coach Carter' Delivers $29M Win

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