American Sniper scores record-setting $90 million debut

20 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

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

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.“American Sniper,” Clint Eastwood’s war-drama that’s nominated for six Oscars, was the top-grossing movie in the U.S. and Canada over the weekend, collecting $90.2 million in ticket sales to set a record for January. “The Wedding Ringer” came in second with weekend sales of $21 million for Sony Pictures (6758)’ Screen Gems, industry researcher Rentrak Corp. said Sunday in a statement.

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.“American Sniper” was breaking records and taking names at the box office this weekend, exceeding all January expectations by making over $90 million in three days. 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.

The Clint Eastwood-directed war film surpassed all other of Eastwood’s films, including “Gran Torino” in 2009. “American Sniper” made more in one day than that film did the entire weekend. “This is staggering. By an enormous amount.” “American Sniper” recently picked up Oscar nods for best picture and best actor for star Bradley Cooper, and the awards buzz only intensified interest in the film.

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. It’s blockbuster numbers in January, the sort of numbers usually reserved for summer films and superhero movies,” Paul Dergarabedian, senior analyst for global media company Rentrak, said. In the intense Oscar-nominated film, Bradley Cooper plays Chris Kyle, a Navy SEAL sharpshooter that was later killed by a fellow soldier suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. (RELATED: Seth Rogen: ‘American Sniper’ Like Fake Nazi Propaganda Film) 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.

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 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. 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 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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