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‘American Sniper’ dominates for third weekend win

‘American Sniper’ dominates for third weekend win

Call it a three-peat. American Sniper continues its remarkable ride, taking the weekend box office for the third weekend in a row. Clint Eastwood’s film about Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle tallied an additional $31.9 million over Super Bowl weekend for a total box office haul of $249 million, according to studio estimates.635583501342207975-AMERICANSNIPER-1-

The film has managed to stay front and center in the American discussion (and controversy). On Friday, first lady Michelle Obama praised the film, calling it a “complex, emotional depiction of a veteran and his family.” “This is still the movie that everyone is talking about. It has really struck a national chord in a profound way,” says Paul Dergarabedian, box office analyst for Rentrak. “Even on Super Bowl weekend, American Sniper continues to draw audiences in big numbers.”

The R-rated film now has the highest box office tally for a war movie, passing Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan, which pulled in $216.5 million in 1998. American Sniper heads toward Oscar weekend Feb. 22 with momentum and six nominations, including best picture and best actor for Bradley Cooper. The family film Paddington also continues to thrive at the box office under the radar with $8.505 million and a surprisingly strong second-place photo finish in its three weekends of release (its box office total is $50.5 million).

“It’s a very strong showing. it’s got great word of mouth,” says Phil Contrino, analyst for BoxOffice.com. “And family films tend to last longer at the box office when they connect.” Project Alamanac had to settle for a close third place with an estimated $8.5 million for its opening weekend. The time-traveling adventure did poorly with critics, scoring a 36% approval rating on RottenTomatoes.com and a B with audiences on CinemaScore.

The drama Black or White, starring Kevin Costner, took fourth place with $6.5 million in its opening weekend. The story about a racially charged custody case was complex theater viewing. Costner put up $9 million of his own money to fund the film. The drama scored well with audiences, earning an A-minus on CinemaScore — critics were harsher, with a 35% approval rating on RottenTomatoes.com. Rounding out the top five was Jennifer Lopez’s thriller The Boy Next Door, which took in $6.1 million in its second weekend, for a total box office haul of $24.7 million.

Also excelling at the box office, HBO’s Game of Thrones, which saw a theater release on 205 IMAX screens for an estimated $1.5 million. GoT’s per-location average of over $7,300 is the second-highest per-screen average among the top 20 titles in release (behind American Sniper). Fans saw two episodes from season 4 and a special preview of upcoming season five on the big screen.