"American Sniper" absolutely blew away every other film at the box office. The MLK holiday weekend was actually the fourth for this film but it had only been in 4 theaters previously so this was its first weekend in nationwide expansion. A mix of solid marketing, trailers that didn't give away the entire plot, and a solid brand with Clint Eastwood and 6 Oscar nominations, gave "American Sniper" a solid boost before it had even released nationwide. It is now the second biggest opening for an R-rated film and the top January release of all time. 

One of the stars of "The Wedding Ringer" previously held the top January spot. Kevin Hart's film "Ride Along" was last years January winner but it made less than half of what "American Sniper" made over the same weekend. "The Wedding Ringer" is the fourth film starring Kevin Hart that has opened with over $20 million, unfortunately this latest film barely made it and made only half of "Ride Along." It is not a good sign of a decent holdover. 

With no other competition in the genre "Paddington" opened at just shy of $20 million and has great reviews, it should get up to around $70 million before it closes out.

"Taken 3" and "Selma" both dropped a bit, "Taken 3" had a very heavy drop of 62% but it also faced competition from "American Sniper." "Selma" only dropped 22% but it was bolstered by the MLK holiday as well as its Oscar nominations.

At just shy of $4 million "Blackhat" was an absolute disaster as that's a drop in the bucket to its $70 million budget. It was up against "American Sniper" with lots of star power and the American Hero idea. It was also just a strange movie for Michael Mann, who has made some incredible films. It's just hard to buy Chris Hemsworth as an ass kicking hacker...


Rank   Title  Studio Weekend Gross       Total Gross   Week #
1   American Sniper WB $89,505,000         $92,930,000   4
2   The Wedding Ringer SGem $20,600,000         $20,600,000   1
3   Paddington W/Dim. $18,966,000         $18,966,000   1
4   Taken 3 Fox $14,625,000         $63,412,000   2
5   Selma Par. $8,785,000         $26,449,000   4


A quick note on budgets and dollar figures:
Films making back their budgets is a good sign, but that is just the money to film. It doesn't include distribution and marketing. Marketing can cost as much as a film. That big Superbowl spot is spendy. So take that into account when judging a film's success. Hitting $100 million isn't the same as it once was.

All dollar amounts in the top 5 come from estimates based on ticket sales unless noted otherwise. Occasionally this article will be published when actual results come out, which is usually late Monday afternoon. For more about this and other ins and outs of movie tracking click here.


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Tags: Box Office Report , American Sniper