×

‘American Sniper,’ ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Drive First Quarter Box Office Up 3%

Hits like “Cinderella” and “The Divergent Series: Insurgent” lifted the first quarter box office up 3% over the initial three months of 2014.

Domestic ticket sales for the period ending in March closed at $2.47 billion compared to $2.4 billion a year ago, according to BoxOffice.com and Rentrak. Going into the quarter, many analysts expected that the overall box office would be down because the winter of 2014 hosted such winners as “The Lego Movie” and “Ride Along.”

However, the quarter got a big assist from “American Sniper,” Clint Eastwood’s blockbuster war drama that premiered in a handful of theaters at the end of 2014 in order to qualify for Oscars. That picture has generated a massive $345.6 million Stateside, the biggest domestic haul for any film released in 2014.

Fifty Shades of Grey” is the highest-grossing domestic release of 2015, having made $165 million, though its dominance will be challenged when “Furious 7” debuts on Friday. The latest installment in the action series is expected to bow to a record $115 million over its first weekend in theaters.

Other hits released at the start of the year include the spy thriller “Kingsman: The Secret Service” ($119.9 million domestic); the animated “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water” ($160.4 million domestic); and the family film “Paddington” ($74.7 million domestic).

The strong box office helped companies in the exhibition space. MovieTickets.com announced Wednesday that the number of tickets sold by the company in the first quarter of 2015 were up 29% over its 2014 results.

Yet a box office record remained elusive. Ticket sales could not match the $2.65 billion generated in the first quarter of 2010, a period that fielded hits such as “Alice in Wonderland” and “How to Train Your Dragon.” It also could not hit the $2.59 billion racked up in the first three months of 2012.

Heading into the middle of February the box office was outpacing 2014’s numbers by more than 10%, but a series of disappointments such as “Chappie” and “Run All Night” stopped the momentum before the quarter could end on a high note with the releases of “Cinderella” and “Home.”

More Film

  • The Lion King

    'The Lion King' Tops $130 Million Overseas

    Disney’s “The Lion King” has roared past $130 million in international ticket sales ahead of its domestic debut, led by $76.6 million in its first week in China. Other markets began launching Wednesday, led by France with $8.3 million in its first two days with the second-biggest opening day for a Disney movie after “Avengers: [...]

  • The Lion King The Gift

    Album Review: Beyoncé’s 'The Lion King: The Gift'

    Before touching down on what Beyoncé has called her “love letter to Africa,” it’s important to see what may have brought her to the mother of mankind, with its wide vistas and sonic planes, for “The Gift” in the first place — beyond, of course, voicing Nala in the film and whatever international marketing tie-ins [...]

  • The Lion King

    'The Lion King' Roars to $23 Million Opening on Thursday Night

    Disney’s “The Lion King” has pounced on a mighty $23 million in North American locations in Thursday night preview showings. It’s the biggest preview number since Disney-Marvel’s “Avengers: Endgame” set the record on April 27 with $60 million. “The Lion King” is expected to debut with $150 million this weekend. Some forecasts estimate the tentpole [...]

  • Major Expansion Planned at Belfast Harbour

    Major Expansion Planned at Belfast Harbour Studios, Home of ‘Krypton’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    Belfast Harbour Studios in Northern Ireland, where the Syfy series “Krypton” is shot, is set for a major expansion. The Warner Horizon-produced series has occupied the full site, which currently has two stages, since it opened in 2017. The landowners had signaled that they wanted to expand, and Variety has learned that plans for the [...]

  • Disney Movies

    Why Audiences Are Only Going to Disney Movies

    Julie Bikhman of Manhattan might buy the tickets, but when it comes to deciding what movie to see, her three young children are the ones calling the shots. “We pick them,” her 11-year-old daughter Annie declares before heading into a screening of Disney’s live-action “The Lion King.” “If it’s a Marvel movie, we know it’s [...]

  • Rob Schneider'The Week Of' film premiere,

    Rob Schneider Running for SAG-AFTRA Board, Supporting Matthew Modine

    Rob Schneider is running for a SAG-AFTRA national board seat as a member of presidential candidate Matthew Modine’s progressive Membership First slate and as a representative of the union’s San Francisco branch. Schneider is a former cast member on “Saturday Night Live” with movie credits on “Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo,” “The Hot Chick,” “The Benchwarmers,” [...]

  • The Lion King

    'Lion King' VFX Supervisor Rob Legato to Keynote at the 2019 View Conference

    Rob Legato, visual effects supervisor of “The Lion King,” “The Addams Family” co-director Conrad Vernon and Baobab Studios’ co-founder and chief creative officer Eric Darnell, director of the VR studio’s Emmy- and Annie-winning VR short “Crow: The Legend,” are rounding out the keynote speakers at this fall’s 20th edition of the View Conference in Turin, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content