Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper” has been killing it on the four screens it has been shown on so far, but this week is the real test as the movie finally opens wide.
Thursday night preview screenings pulled in $5.3 million last night, which has led to early estimates that the Iraq War drama could reach as high as $60 million over the Friday-Monday holiday weekend with today’s wide opening expected to top $20 million.
The studio is predicting a more modest $55 million for the four days, even so it would probably make it a record January weekend with the previous biggest wide-release January opener being last year’s “Ride Along” with $41.5 million. It would also top Eastwood’s previous opening record of $29.5 million for “Gran Torino”.
In startling comparison, Michael Mann’s “Blackhat” scored just $179,000 in Thursday night preview screenings last night, and is only expected to haul in just $7 million for the four-day weekend. Family comedy “Paddington” and Kevin Hart comedy “The Wedding Ringer” are both expected to fare better and open in the $20-30 million range each.
“American Sniper” has managed $3.4 million on just the four screens it has been playing on since Christmas.