It’s strange now to think that American Sniper got a platform release like it was an arthouse movie, because it’s playing like superhero movie. And I mean like a popular superhero movie, not Amazing Spider-Man 2. American Sniper earned an estimated $90.2 million domestically this weekend, making it not just a hit, but a bona fide phenomenon.
Unleash the bullet points. Sniper now has…
- The largest January opener of all time, more than doubling the previous record (Ride Along‘s $41 million last year)
- The second largest weekend ever for an R-rated film (behind The Matrix: Reloaded‘s $91.2 million)
- The 40th biggest opening of all time
- The eighth-biggest debut ever for an explicit non-sequel/prequel
- The biggest R-rated IMAX opening ever ($11.5 million)
- This year’s highest-grossing Best Picture nominee
- A higher gross than Birdman, The Theory of Everything, Boyhood and Whiplash combined
Playing 57% male and 63% over 25 years old, it received an A+ cinemascore. Meaning, it’s going to make a lot more money. $250 million-plus is in the realm of possibility according to some. And this for a film that only cost $58 million to make.
Not bad for the dude who screamed about crab cakes and football in Wedding Crashers.
The fact that a movie aimed at adults can do this well in January should prove once and for all that January isn’t just a month to put Nic Cage movies about witches anymore.
There are surely lots of reasons for American Sniper‘s success, but let’s not overlook a basic one: it had a really good trailer.
The other movies opening this weekend didn’t do half bad either. The Wedding Ringer took $21 million and Paddington took $19.3 million. Overall box office was up 19% from the same weekend last year.