Clint Eastwood’s controversial R-rated ‘American Sniper’ smashed the North American box office record books over the weekend with the highest ever January three day opening and has already surpassed the previous Martin Luther King holiday four day high with Monday still to come. What’s more, the Navy SEAL thriller will easily cross the magic $100m milestone over the extended session, a good $40m ahead of top end market forecasts, after clocking up an astounding $90.2m by Sunday night. Clearly, Warner Bros have timed the expansion to perfection, maximising a rare ‘A+’ cinemaScore and multiple Oscar nominations, but the film’s commercial success coincides with growing concern over the ethics of its real life ‘hero’, Chris Kyle.
Somewhat overshadowed, two newcomers are fighting a close battle for second place after registering higher than expected returns of their own. Kevin Hart’s R-rated comedy ‘The Wedding Ringer’ currently stands at $24.8m, a narrow $0.5m ahead of the ‘Paddington’ adaptation, with respective ‘A-‘ and ‘A’ cinemaScores powering momentum.
The other wide newcomer, ‘Blackhat’, continues to bomb spectacularly. Michael Mann’s $70m crime drama faces box office oblivion after grossing a truly awful $4m over the three days.
Clint Eastwood’s Navy SEAL thriller, ‘American Sniper’, finished the MLK weekend with a record breaking $105.3m, doubling market expectations.
‘Paddington’ came from behind to take second place with $25.2m after family audiences turned out for the Michael Bond adaptation.
Kevin Hart’s R-rated comedy ‘The Wedding Ringer’ was only just behind on $24.5m after the two films were neck and neck throughout the frame.
And, Michael Mann’s $70m crime drama, ‘Blackhat, could only muster a disastrous $4.4m.