The limited release of Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper” for the past three weeks on four screens appears to have only fuelled the fire for the film ahead of its wide release this past Friday.
The Bradley Cooper-led film performed far beyond expectations, nabbing $90.2 million from Friday to Sunday and is expected to reach $105.2 million over the four-day Martin Luther King Jr weekend.
That’s not just the biggest opening of all time for both January and a Clint Eastwood-directed film, but the biggest opening for ever for a non-tentpole movie. It’s also a highly profitable one as it was shot on a tight budget of $60 million.
Reviews have been quite good, but not great, from both the public and critics – a 72/100 on Metacritic, a 74% on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 7.7/10 from user votes on the IMDb.
The film has also made headlines though with several columns taking the film to task for its whitewashing of its subject’s life, along with people like Michael Moore and Seth Rogen taking swipes at the film on social media.
‘Sniper’ is without a doubt the first major hit of the year, but this weekend also saw another headline – the first box-office bomb of the year in the form of Michael Mann’s “Blackhat”.
Despite a talk show clip that went viral last week in which the film’s leading star Chris Hemsworth got wet in a white shirt and gyrated seductively, the audience stayed away in droves with the $75 million-budget thriller under performing expectation and coming in tenth place with only $4 million from Friday to Sunday.
Reviews were atrocious, with the film scoring a 49/100 on Metacritic, a 31% on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 5.5/10 from user votes on the IMDb. Universal will have to hope international audiences respond better to the film.