‘Sniper’ Rules Weekend Box Office

20 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Sniper’ smashes records with $90 million weekend.

LOS ANGELES — Hollywood is prone to superlatives, but this one is truly jaw dropping: “American Sniper,” which arrived in wide release on Friday, is expected to sell about $105.2 million in tickets in North America over the four-day holiday weekend. Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper” ignited the holiday weekend box office, leaving January records behind as it made a stunning $90.2 million in three days.The Oscar-nominated movie grossed $9.3 million over the weekend as it opened in a number of key markets, pushing its early foreign total to $25.4 million. While America’s coastal intelligentsia busied itself with chatter over little-seen art dramas like “Boyhood” and “Birdman,” everyday Americans showed up en masse for a patriotic, pro-family picture that played more like a summer superhero blockbuster than an R-rated war drama with six Oscar nominations. This year, the holiday comes a few days after Ava DuVernay’s Selma, a film that follows one of King’s great campaigns, failed to secure the expected number of Oscar nominations.

Directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Bradley Cooper, “American Sniper” joins another unexpected hit, Angelina Jolie’s “Unbroken,” in turning out a conservative, heartland crowd that surprised Hollywood in its size. “Tennessee, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico — all absolutely massive,” said Dan Fellman, president of domestic distribution at Warner Bros., which released “American Sniper.” But unlike “Unbroken,” Mr. As you will recall, the omissions were made that bit more painful by the unexpectedly strong showing of Clint Eastwood’s mechanical American Sniper. 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.

From Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow Pictures, American Sniper launched to $3.6 million in the U.K., by far the biggest opening of Eastwood’s career as a director, and ahead of recent war films including Zero Dark Thirty and Green Zone. It’s blockbuster numbers in January, the sort of numbers usually reserved for summer films and superhero movies,” says Paul Dergarabedian, senior analyst for Rentrak. “No one saw this coming. The film has been building an audience and blasting any projections all weekend.” The $105 million tally is more than double what analysts were expecting, Dergarabedian says.

This really obliterated expectations,” Dergarabedian said of Eastwood’s movie. “He’s an octogenarian and he’s still rocking it.” In a crowded box office over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, “American Sniper” benefited from Oscar nomination buzz. Eastwood boasts a strong following in Italy, where Sniper finished its third weekend with total earnings of $18.8 million, one of the best showings ever for a non-franchise title released in Italy by Warners. It marks director Eastwood’s biggest debut, surpassing “Gran Torino,” which earned $29.5 million in 2008. “American Sniper topped that with Friday’s $30.5 million opening. The Warner Bros. film entered the weekend after picking up Academy Award nominations on Thursday, including best picture and best actor for Bradley Cooper. Kyle was killed in 2013 at a Texas gun range by an emotionally troubled veteran he was trying to help. “The previews looked really intense, and I was curious about it being a true story,” said Eric Davidson, 19, who saw the movie with two friends in Indianapolis on Friday. “I immediately recommended it on Twitter.

The estimated IMAX total on 332 screens for the four-day weekend is $11.5 million (yet another record). “American Sniper,” with Bradley Cooper starring as Navy SEAL sharpshooter Chris Kyle, initially opened in December to packed theaters in limited release – making nearly $3.4 million on a handful of screens in Los Angeles, New York and Dallas. This weekend marked the biggest box-office draw of Eastwood’s career, eclipsing the $29.5 million that “Gran Torino” captured in January 2009, Dergarabedian said. Everyone’s talking about it.” The film gave Hollywood its biggest January weekend opening ever, beating “Avatar,” which took in $74.4 million in 2010, after adjusting for inflation. Josh Gad and Kevin Hart’s The “Wedding Ringer” took second place with $21 million for the three-day weekend (an estimated $25 million for four days). The film, based on the beloved bear star of the children’s books, scored well with critics (98 percent approval on Rotten Tomatoes) and audiences (87 percent) alike.

The drama, from Black Bear Pictures and Bristol Automotive, has earned $51.5 million internationally, while its projected domestic total through Monday is $50.8 million (The Weinstein Co. is releasing the film in the U.S.). Still, the studio was already fully committed to the wide release of “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” and the overall Christmas box office was crowded with competing films; securing additional theatrical space for the wide-release of “American Sniper” would be difficult. 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. Ticket sales in that handful of theaters exceeded expectations, helping Warner to rally multiplex chains around the picture. “American Sniper” suddenly went from smaller auditoriums to the biggest bookings available. The success of American Sniper confirms that older audiences will attend serious-minded films if certain buttons are pushed and certain flags are raised.

Keep in mind that, at one stage, Marvel were so wary of the word “America” in certain territories that they pondered banishing it from the posters of the first Captain America film and titling that picture The First Avenger.

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