‘American Sniper’ sets new record with wide release

Multiple Oscar nominations and powerful word of mouth since its limited release in the speciality market have propelled Clint Eastwood’s ‘American Sniper’ to a stunning $30.5m Friday after going wide at the North American box office. It’s the highest ever single day January tally in the box office’s history and sets up an astonishing $80m+ haul over the four-day Martin Luther King weekend; making a mockery of market and studio forecasts.

 

There’s a close battle for second place between two of the weekend’s wide releases. Kevin Hart’s R-rated comedy ‘The Wedding Ringer’ established an early lead on Friday with a solid $6.9m but the Michael Bond adaptation, ‘Paddington’ grossed a higher than predicted $4.6m and has the advantage of family audiences during the remainder of the session. Both films have strong word of mouth – an ‘A-‘ cinemaScore for ‘The Wedding Ringer’ and an even better ‘A’ for ‘Paddington’ – and they should earn $25m apiece over the four days.

 

The other wide newcomer, ‘Blackhat’, has bombed. Michael Mann’s crime drama could only muster $1.3m on Friday and will barely clear $5m during the session against a $70m production budget. And with audiences awarding it a ‘C-‘ cinemaScore and critics agreeing – 31% on RT – there seems no hope for a recovery.

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January 18th, 2015 - admin

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