American Sniper’s wide release was the biggest release in January history with a ridiculous $90.2 million and the second highest opening ever for an R rated movie. The previous top January release was last year’s Ride Along, which made less than half of that with $41.2 million. American Sniper is also now the highest grossing Best Picture nominee and it blew away the similarly themed, similarly released Lone Survivor from last year, which made $37.8 million in it’s first wide release weekend. It’s already Clint Eastwood’s fourth highest grossing movie as a director, behind Million Dollar Baby.
In a far, far distant second was The Wedding Ringer, which made $21 million, despite awful reviews. It’s Kevin Hart’s fourth movie to open above $20 million but, as mentioned above, about half as much as Ride Along made last year when it opened.
Paddington opened in third with $19.3 million, about the same as The Nut Job made in it’s opening weekend around the same time last year but Paddington is riding on much stronger reviews and there’s very little family movie competition in the next few weeks.
Taken 3 fell almost 65% from last weekend’s number 1 opening to fourth place with another $14 million. It’s made just shy of $63 million for it’s two weeks out.
Selma rounded out the top 5 with $8.3 million.
Barely on the top ten was the other new release of the week, Michael Mann’s Blackhat, which made a pathetic $4 million, easily one of the lowest openings ever for the director, barely topping Manhunter’s opening in 1986 and that movie was also only in 779 theaters. It’s the lowest wide opening ever for star Chris Hemsworth as well.