‘American Sniper’ kills rivals — and angers Michael Moore | News Entertainment

‘American Sniper’ kills rivals — and angers Michael Moore

20 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘American Sniper’ hits its box office marks, and then some.

Filmmaker Michael Moore has slammed snipers as ‘cowards’ who ‘shoot you in the back’ – the same weekend the Oscar-tipped movie American Sniper hit cinemas. Oscar-nominated war film “American Sniper” led U.S. and Canadian box office charts over the weekend with a record-smashing $90.2 million in ticket sales, according to studio estimates. “American Sniper” virtually doubled industry expectations after widely expanding to some 3,500 screens from just a handful of theaters the day after scoring six Oscar nominations, including best picture and best actor for Cooper, who plays a Navy Seal sharpshooter.This piece will be dealing solely with American Sniper and its huge $90.2 million weekend, with the rest of the weekend box office news to be found HERE.

LOS ANGELES – Hollywood is prone to superlatives, but this one is truly jaw dropping: “American Sniper,” which arrived in wide release Friday, is expected to sell $105.2 million in tickets in North America over the holiday weekend.It is now on pace to decimate records for the Martin Luther King holiday and for the month of January, pulling in roughly $105 million over the four-day period. Blowing past all reasonable predictions, Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper, which stars Bradley Cooper as the most prolific sniper in US military history, crushed the January record books with a scorching $90.2 million Friday-to-Sunday and an estimated $105 million Friday-to-Monday debut frame. It’s also a new high-water mark for director Clint Eastwood, whose previous weekend record was the $29.5 million wide release opening for 2008’s “Gran Torino.” At 84, he’s still got it. “The movie has become a cultural phenomenon,” said Dan Fellman, Warner Bros. head of domestic distribution. “It tore apart the record book and not by a little. Eastwood’s movie surprised the industry by reaping amounts usually not seen until summer weekends, helping kick off a year that’s expected to haul in at least $11 billion for the first time on the back of new entries from past successful franchises including “Star Wars,” “Terminator” and “Jurassic Park,” said Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst with Rentrak.

Another new release, family film “Paddington” based on the series of classic children’s books about a loveable bear, was third with $19.3 million, but could move up to second after Monday when schools are closed. The three-day take for “American Sniper” was a record for a January weekend, surpassing the $68.5 million brought in by “Avatar” over the first weekend of 2010. “No one saw this coming. And invaders r worse.’ Based on Kyle’s autobiography of the same name, the film reveals not only how he became so successful, but also how the trauma of fighting in Iraq never left him. The film, expected to add another $15 million on Monday, set records in IMAX theaters, unusual for a drama, and far surpassed Eastwood’s “Gran Torino” which opened at $29.5 million in 2008. “The Wedding Ringer” stars Kevin Hart and Josh Gad in a buddy comedy about a for-hire best man, played by Hart.

This one bested that in a day, and is nearly 2/3 of the way (around $108m as of Monday) to besting the $148m domestic total of said Eastwood picture to claim the top grosser spot of his legendary career. Moore won an Oscar in 2002 for his documentary Bowling For Columbine, exploring gun violence in America and the main reasons for the Columbine High School massacre. The Bradley Cooper vehicle went wide this weekend after scorching four-theater per-screen-averages of over $100k p.s.a. for three weekends of limited release starting on Christmas Day where it earned $3 million going into the weekend.

On Friday alone, “American Sniper” took in $30.5 million, he said. “It’s amazing that at this stage of his career to be at the forefront of the zeitgeist and a film that he created is the No. 1 movie,” the analyst said in a telephone interview. “Very few directors or artists can aspire to such longevity and relevance at this point in their career.” “American Sniper” follows the story of Chris Kyle, a lethal sniper in the Iraq War, played by Cooper. Rounding out the top five, Liam Neeson thriller “Taken 3″ took in $14.1 million, according to tracking firm Rentrak, while civil rights drama and Oscar nominee “Selma” earned $8.3 million. “Paddington” was released by The Weinstein Company. “Taken 3″ was distributed by Fox, a unit of Twenty-first Century Fox . “Selma” was distributed by Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom Inc. (Editing by Rosalind Russell) The dynamite first teaser ranks among the best such spots from last year, and Warner Bros. knew it didn’t have to do much more that drop that harrowing tease. The Warner Bros./Time Warner Inc. release even made it seem like even more of an event via asking IMAX to do a lightning-quick conversion for this weekend’s wide release. It also keeps Hart’s box-office roll going, following his success in recent hits such as “Ride Along” and “Think Like a Man.” The Weinstein Co.’s “Paddington” opened to $19.3 million from 3,303 screens for the weekend and a third-place finish.

The film garnered a 33 percent positive rating from critics on Rottentomatoes.com. “Paddington,” another new film, was adapted from a children’s book in which a bear finds his way into the home of the Browns, played by Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins. Okay, if you want to count the mostly “real world” Indiana Jones pictures (they tend to go religious/fantasy right at the very end), then you add in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull with its $100m Fri-Sun debut. As I discussed last January when Lone Survivor debuted with $37.8 million, films that unequivocally play to and/or are about people living in so-called flyover country yet are actually released wide enough to be seen by said moviegoers are akin to event movies.

American Sniper, directed by Clint Eastwood, earning mostly decent reviews and the above-noted Oscar buzz, and acting as a rare big-budget war movie that didn’t necessarily rub audiences’ faces in the morality of the specific conflict was indeed akin to The Avengers for the specific audience that will eat this up like catnip. This was indeed the kind of performance that resembled The Passion of the Christ, in that it brought out not just the politically-inclined and those connected to the military, but also the kind of audiences that don’t necessarily flock to the movies yet came out (and will come out) for this one. Mr. “We shouldn’t have been over there in the first place!” liberal film critic may have issues with the film’s politics, tin-eared dialogue, and its massaging a true-life biopic into generic action movie cliches (it’s less jingoistic than Lone Survivor, although frankly less interesting than the intriguingly procedural Act of Valor), but it arguably wasn’t made for me. It also means more multiplex films that espouse a political or social viewpoint that I might not necessarily agree with and/or play to demographics that aren’t necessarily in my wheelhouse. It’s not that they can open The Dark Knight Rises to $160 million, it’s that they can open Magic Mike to $39m, The Great Gatsby to $50m, Gravity to $55m, and now American Sniper to a $90m four-day debut weekend.

I hope they don’t get too bogged down in DC Comics movies, because their ability to distribute and market movies like this to numbers anywhere resembling this, not their ability to make another Batman movie, is what makes them valuable to the industry.

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