Box Office Preview: 'American Sniper' Set to Slay Johnny Depp's 'Mortdecai'
To boot, 'Mortdecai' could also lose to 'The Boy Next Door and 'Strange Magic'
Johnny Depp's newest film, Mortdecai, could quickly find itself in trouble when opening in more than 2,600 theaters on Friday, continuing the actor's losing streak in North America.
The $60 million, R-rated film may not clear $10 million in its debut, putting it behind holdover American Sniper, as well as new entires The Boy Next Door, a psychological thriller starring Jennifer Lopez, and the George Lucas-produced family film Strange Magic. That would mark Depp's third dud after Transcendence and The Lone Ranger (he does have a small role in box office win Into the Woods, now in theaters).
Lionsgate and OddLot Entertainment had high hopes for Mortdecai, directed by David Koepp and starring Depp as a debonair art dealer and part-time rogue who races to recover a stolen painting rumored to contain the code to a lost bank account filled with Nazi gold. Gwyneth Paltrow, Ewan McGregor, Olivia Munn, Jeff Goldblum and Paul Bettany also star in the film adaptation of Kyril Bonfiglioli's novel Don't Paint that Thing at Me.
American Sniper is poised to remain a giant in its second weekend with as much as $50 million, putting its domestic total north of $170 million after just 10 days in nationwide release.
Rated R, The Boy Next Door could do as much as $15 million in business, putting it at No. 2 and marking another win for Universal's deal with Jason Blum's Blumhouse. Directed by Rob Cohen (The Fast and the Furious), The Boy Next Door explores what happens when forbidden attraction goes too far.
Strange Magic is something of a wild card, since it is the only new offering for families. It is tracking to open in the $10 million range, but could easily do more, even in the face of competition from holdover Paddington. From a story by Lucas, Strange Magic is an animated romp set in a whimsical land of potions, goblins and fairies that's loosely inspired by William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.
The movie, from a story by Lucas, was already in the works when Disney swooped in and bought Lucasfilm in 2012, but Strange Magic was kept on the QT until last fall, when Disney announced a Jan. 23 release. The voice cast includes Evan Rachel Wood, Alan Cumming, Kristin Chenoweth, Maya Rudolph, Sam Palladio, Meredith Anne Bull, Alfred Molina and Elijah Kelley, who sing new versions of pop and classic rock songs.
New offerings at the specialty box office include Kevin Macdonald's R-rated submarine thriller Black Sea, starring Jude Law. Focus Features opens the movie in three theaters in New York and Los Angeles before expanding it nationwide Jan. 30.
And Roadside Attractions launches Mommy in four theaters in New York and Los Angeles. The critically acclaimed Canadian drama is directed by Xavier Dolan. Mommy is nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for best foreign film.