Box Office: ‘American Sniper’ is super at no. 1 as ‘Game of Thrones’ slays in IMAX

Clint Eastwood's “American Sniper” contented to dominate the box office over Super Bowl weekend, but the bigger story appears to be an unexpected tight race for the no. 2 and no. 3 spots between “Paddington” and “Project Almanac.”  First, let's see how the no. 1 movie in America contented to perform.

“Sniper” took in another $31.8 million over the three day for a new overall total of $248.9 million. It was down just 50% from the weekend before and is now the fifth highest grossing R-rated movie of all-time.  By the time it passes the $300 million mark later this month it will the second highest behind “Passion of the Christ's” $370 million.  The Best Picture nominee's run at the top of the box office will likely end this upcoming weekend, however, when “The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water” and “Jupiter Ascending” hit theaters.

The battle for the second slot was much more intriguing.  Coming off an expected Saturday matinee bump, “Paddington” reported $8.505 million over the three-day for $50.5 million so far domestically.  Even with a slower than expected Super Bowl Sunday on tap, “Paddington” dropped only 30.7% which is fairly impressive.  

Paramount Pictures' long delayed “Project Almanac” reported $8.5 million over the three-day. That's a disappointing take for the $12 million budgeted MTV Films production.  Since the weekend box office is always based on estimates, Monday's actuals will reveal who really placed second and third for the frame.

Clearly in fourth was the Kevin Coster produced “Black or White.”  The melodrama which stars Costner, Octavia Spencer and Anthony Mackie earned $6.4 million over the weekend.  Critics were not impressed, but an A- Cinemascore grade means word of mouth might help the film in its second weekend.

Dropping to fifth was Jennifer Lopez's guilty pleasure thriller “The Boy Next Door.”  The Universal Pictures release took in another $6 million for $24.6 million in just 10 days.  “Boy” should end up with $30 million plus which would make it a nice single hit for the studio based on its $4 million production budget.

The other new release of the weekend was Open Road Films thriller “The Loft” which took in just $2.8 million and will soon be forgotten.

Intriguingly, Warner Bros. and HBO threw the final two episodes of the last season of “Game of Thrones” in 205 IMAX theaters where it grossed an impressive $1.5 million for a $7,322 per screen.  Yes, IMAX tickets are more expensive, but it will certainly have other networks considering a similar release down the road.  Can we say “The Walking Dead” anyone?

New releases on Friday include the aforementioned “Jupiter Ascending,” “The Spongebob Movie” and, another long delayed flick, “The Seventh Son.”