MOVIE BOX OFFICE
That deep gasping sound accompanied by the cascade of clicking, zipping, snapping and folding of purses and wallets you heard this weeked was America generally staying home from the theater, saving their money for the box office summer blockbuster bonanza that Avengers 2 is set to kick off next weekend.
Weekend Box Office: Furious 7 Takes Third Victory Lap, Paul Blart Sequel Does Way Better Than It Deserves
Furious 7 took another victory lap, holding the number one spot for a third weekend in a row.
The box office settled in for the April calm before the comes-a-little-earlier-every-year summer blockbuster storm. One new release made a quiet debut while last weekend's top gun held the number one spot.
It's not often that a franchise surges on its seventh installation, but this weekend the Fast and Furious series exceeded all expectations, set franchise records, and set a high bar for the summer blockbuster competition.
It felt like Spring Break at the movies this weekend as DreamWorks hit something of a Home-run while Get Hard also drew strong numbers at the box office.
The Divergent Series returned to theaters this weekend with the second of four movies in the film franchise. One year after Divergent opened at number one with $54 million, its sequel did exactly the same thing.
Disney demonstrated an uncanny ability to be consistent with live action films based on its animated classics while Liam Neeson had one of the worst opening weekends of the last decade.
Few folks can crank out exceptional movie after movie without at least a few blips along the way, but most fans of Neill Blomkamp hoped he would make it past film number three before churning out something the critics despised. Despite Chappie's number one opening weekend, it proved to be his first big disappointment.
It was rough going this weekend for Will Smith's latest offering. Although the movie came in at number one, that was due to the slowness of the February box office doldrums than a massive audience turn out.
Proving that its mystique is little more than flash-in-the-pan titillation, Fifty Shades of Grey plummeted over 70% from last weekend and only held number one because the fresh blood came in pre-clotted or pre-thinned and ready to flop.
American audiences sometimes aren't the most discerning when it comes to appreciating quality movie-making. The promise of titillating sex or mid-school grade fart jokes tends to go a lot farther than great acting and enjoyable plots. The two new movies this weekend served to solidify the point.
This weekend closed out with one solid winner and two big losers. The long awaited The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water arrived, landing the number one spot after American Sniper had held the position for longer than exptected three weekends in a row.
American Sniper held a solid lock on the number one spot for a third weekend in a row. There were three newcomers, but those three combined barely earned half of its three week old $31 million.
American Sniper held strong to the number one spot, dropping less than 30% and adding $64 million and just crossing the $200 million mark. While directing is nothing new for Clint Eastwood, this is his most successful effort to date by box office standards. Sniper has already surpassed his previous highest grosser, Gran Torino's $148 million.
After spending three weeks in a very shrewd, word-of-mouth buzz generating, 2014 Oscars qualifying limited release, American Sniper expanded into wide release this weekend, catapulting to number one and setting records at the same time.
The third and purportedly final installation in the Taken franchise hit theaters this weekend. On the one hand it's probably a good thing that it's the last movie.
2014 went out with less than a bang. Ticket sales were down 5% from the previous year and with an increase in average ticket prices that means attendance dropped even more than that. But 2015 got off to a slightly stronger start.
The post-Christmas weekend, which is also the last of 2014, saw a nice boost for most movies and some exceptional openings for the newcomers. It paints a good picture for the weekend, but it wasn't enough to dig the 2014 box office out of its major slump.
It was a weekend dominated by holiday sequels, and although they had a decent turn out, there wasn't much room for holiday cheers by franchise box office standards.
Ridley Scott's latest epic historical movie hit theaters this weekend and while it took an easy number one, there wasn't anything historic or epic about its box office performance.