Weekend box office: American Sniper is Eastwood’s biggest opening

No matter which way you look at it, the fact that Clint Eastwood’s AMERICAN SNIPER managed to bring in over $85 million at the weekend box office is a huge surprise.  AMERICAN SNIPER (click the link to read our review) is now the highest grossing January movie of all time, besting the previous high (RIDE ALONG) by almost $40 million.  It’s also the highest grossing Clint Eastwood movie of all time, beating out GRAN TORINO by almost $50 million.  I would stop short of saying no one saw this coming, but I for one didn’t expect a $85 million opening.  That’s a huge number for what essentially is an Oscar movie.  I compare it to last year’s LONE SURVIVOR, which is also a recent, true war story and that only grossed $37 million on its opening weekend.  Maybe this is proof that Bradley Cooper is a huge star now or maybe audiences are starved to see real American heroes on the big screen.  The other big movie of the weekend was the Kevin Hart starring THE WEDDING RINGER, which opened in second place with just over $20 million.  That’s an impressive opening for Hart, who clearly owns January.  The sad news of the weekend comes in the form of BLACKHAT, which couldn’t even manage a top ten opening.  It’s depressing when a Michael Mann directed and Chris Hemsworth starring film can’t open in January.

Next week is a bit of a letdown compared to this past weekend.  The only notable release is Johnny Depp’s MORTDECAI, which looks almost unwatchable.  We also get the Jennifer Lopez thriller THE BOY NEXT DOOR as well as the Jude Law starring BLACK SEA.  My guess is that AMERICAN SNIPER will easily make it two weekends in a row.  Note: the numbers below will be updated as they become final.

Update 1: I changed the numbers to reflect the new prediction, but it looks like AMERICAN SNIPER is now on pace to bring in $88 million as opposed to the originally estimated $66 million.  Wow.

1. American Sniper $88m

2. The Wedding Ringer $20.6m

3. Paddington $19.3m

4. Taken 3 $15.3m

5. Selma $8.4m

6. Into the Woods $7.3m

7. Imitation Game $6.4m

8. The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies $5.2m

9. Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb $7.3mAnnie $3.4m

10. Unbroken $4.1m

(Deadline)

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