The hits keep coming for American Sniper. Following its record-setting debut with an equally stunning sophomore hold last weekend (down just 27% with $64.6 million), the Clint Eastwood drama is now poised to dominate that most-American of box office frames: Super Bowl weekend.
American Sniper is expected to bring in another $32 million in its third weekend in wide release. That would establish a new all-time high for the Super Bowl frame. The current record belongs to Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: The Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour, which opened to $31.1 million in 2008. To be clear, Miley will still retain the crown for biggest Super Bowl opening; but the fact that American Sniper has a clear shot at beating that total as a holdover just underscores how massive this movie has become.
American Sniper took in an estimated $10 million yesterday from 3,885 locations – an increase of 180 venues from last weekend. That’s the widest release ever for an R-rated film, the previous high being 3,675 for 2011’s The Hangover Part II. By Sunday, Sniper should be close to $250 million in domestic sales: the same range that The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies now occupies. It’s clear that American Sniper will eventually top $300 million, which means that it will also rank among the top three domestic titles of 2014, thanks to that two-week limited run in December.
For the second Friday in a row, new releases had a hard time withstanding the force of American Sniper. Project Almanac proved strongest of Friday’s new titles, earning an estimated $3.2 million from 2,893 locations. The found footage sci-fi pic was expected to open with at least $15 million – a good start for a movie budgeted at just $12 million. Unfortunately, Almanac’s forecast was based on a much-stronger showing on Friday – the critical day during the front-loaded Super Bowl frame. Project Almanac will now be lucky to reach $10 million through Sunday.
The weekend’s two remaining new releases are not likely to reach $10 million even if their opening totals were combined. Black or White, a family drama starring Kevin Costner and Octavia Spencer, collected $2.2 million on Friday from 1,823 locations. Meanwhile, The Loft, the R-rated thriller from Open Road Films (the distributor of Nightcrawler and The Grey, among others) brought in just $1.1 million from 1,841 venues. That puts The Loft on track for a debut of less than $3 million – lower than any of Open Road’s previous wide releases save Believe, Justin Bieber’s ill-conceived 2013 concert film.
We’ll have complete details on 2015’s Super Bowl box office tomorrow – ‘cause we’ve got no place else we’d rather be. Until then, here’s how Friday’s top five played out:
|3.||Black or White||$2,270,000||$2.27|
|4.||The Boy Next Door||$2,100,000||$20.7|