The Clint Eastwood-directed "American Sniper" raked in $30.5 million in its wide-release debut Friday, putting it on track to earn up to $80 million over the Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, the Hollywood Reporter trumpeted Saturday.
That could put the war movie on track for the biggest January opening ever.
In this image released by Warner Bros. Pictures, Kyle Gallner, left, and Bradley Cooper appear in a scene from "American Sniper." The film is based on the autobiography by Chris Kyle. (AP Photo/Warner Bros. Pictures)
Over at Forbes, Scott Mendelson offered some context:
Going into yesterday, the biggest opening weekend for a movie Clint Eastwood directed and/or starred in is Gran Torino, which opened in wide release in January 2009 with $29.5 million. The biggest January debut weekend was Ride Along, which earned $48m over the Fri-Sun frame of its $48m Fri-Mon MLK weekend last year.
The biggest opening day in January was Cloverfield‘s $17.16m Friday as part of its (at the time) record-breaking $40m debut frame in 2008.
The biggest single day was Avatar‘s $25.8m on January 2nd during its third weekend of release back in 2010. The biggest R-rated openings of all-time are Hannibal ($58m), 300 ($70m), The Passion of the Christ ($83m Fri-Sun during its $125m Wed-Sun bow) The Hangover part II ($85m Fri-Sun during its $135m Thurs-Mon bow), and The Matrix Reloaded ($91m Fri-Sun during its $134m Thurs-Sun bow). Unless I’m forgetting one, the biggest non-comic book, non-fantasy/sci-fi action movie debuts are Fast & Furious 6 ($97.3m), Skyfall ($88.3m), Fast Five ($86.1m), Fast & Furious ($70.9m), Quantum of Solace ($67m), The Bourne Ultimatum ($69m), and Mission: Impossible II ($57.8m).
With those numbers in mind, Mendelson wrote, the haul of "American Sniper" is particularly impressive and proves that "a blockbuster can come from anywhere."
"American Sniper," starring Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle, the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history, has nabbed a slew of Academy Award nominations and has an A+ CinemaScore rating in every possible category, the Hollywood Reporter noted.
Like "Lone Survivor" last January, "American Sniper" is proving that plenty of Americans are willing to see gritty, violent films about the most recent U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — and, as Mendelson noted, that those films need not be released in traditional blockbuster seasons.
Watch the trailer for "American Sniper" below:
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