The North American speciality box office grabbed the headlines over the weekend but not for the reasons expected. Sony’s limited theatrical release of political hot potato ‘The Interview’ dominated column inches when the four day session got under way but a modest performance – $2.8m from 331 independent theatres – has rendered it largely irrelevant compared to the film’s simultaneous online platform launch.
Instead, Clint Eastwood’s R-rated ‘American Sniper’, starring Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller, was the talk of the town after bagging a sensational $212,000 average off four theatres and an exceptionally rare ‘A+’ CinemaScore from first night audiences. Perhaps, for the first time, the Navy SEAL thriller looks like doing more than making up the numbers in this year’s awards season.
At the other end of the scale, ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ enjoyed an expected repeat weekend win but with a much higher than forecast $55m.
But, wide weekend openers, ‘Unbroken’ and ‘Into the Woods’ over-performed by even more with a jaw dropping $47m and $46m respectively.
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