At the eruption of every volcano, mustaches fall, and at this, the burning ember end of Johnny Depp’s once-explosive stardom, the actor mustache himself a question: How much longer can I play a supporting role to a hairpiece? Judging by the returns for Mortdecai—which has become Depp’s fifth box-office bomb in a row (not counting his small Into The Woods role, in the full-body wig of the Big Bad Wolf)—the question has become as pointed as the whiskers that he and Mortdecai’s producers found so inherently hilarious, and every bit as soaked in tears.
Not as enamored with mustache gags, audiences rejected the comedy where Depp stockpiles foppish accents, funny hair, and outlandish clothes like he’s prepping to ride out a blizzard, giving it a mere $4.13 million for a ninth-place finish. To put that in perspective, it’s less than half what Transcendence opened to the last time everyone pointed out that Depp can no longer open a non-Pirates movie, and it’s more than $1 million less than what the decidedly smaller The Rum Diary pulled in its debut. It’s safe to say that Lionsgate probably wishes it could walk back declarations that Mortdecai is an obvious franchise, as this weekend likely spelled an end to dreams of sequels where Depp’s art detective progressively gets to grow a Van Dyke, muttonchops, and—in the ill-advised, Son Of Mortdecai reboot—Roberto Benigni clinging to his chin.
Also putting Mortdecai’s failure into stark relief: It was out-earned nearly three-to-one by The Boy Next Door, Jennifer Lopez’s after-school special about the dangers of having sex with 19-year-olds after school. The film opened to $15 million and an audience that was more than 70-percent female, and an estimated 25 percent camp-loving gay men who have already been cackling over “I love your mom’s cookies” for weeks now. Mortdecai was even killed by Strange Magic, George Lucas’ garish-looking karaoke fairy tale—though that film’s still-dismal $5.5 million haul will likely cause a brief frown to flicker across the faces of Lucas and Disney executives before they return to their daily money baths.
In the second-most successful assassination story of the week, American Sniper continues to rally audiences who view it as their duty to support the heavily sanitized troops in the face of people who express reservations about that. A $64 million haul gave the Clint Eastwood film one of the biggest second weekends for a movie ever, and the biggest period for an R-rated movie, outpacing even that other incredibly violent film that was the responsibility of every patriotic American to see, The Passion Of The Christ. Surely someone at Warner Bros. must be pitching a sequel—possibly about a brave yet tormented man who replies with deadly precision to the liberal tweets made by Michael Moore and Seth Rogen. (“Or perhaps American Snipper, about a brave yet zany barber?” Johnny Depp chimes in.)
For more detailed numbers, visit Box Office Mojo.