Box Office: ‘American Sniper’ Targets Super Bowl Record, Heads for $250M


Clint Eastwood‘s American Sniper has set its sight on anther record — the biggest Super Bowl weekend gross of all time. That is, if it can best the $31.1 million earned in 2008 by Hanna Montana/Miley Cyrus: The Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour.

On Friday, Sniper stayed No. 1 with a mighty $10 million from 3,885 theaters for a domestic cume of $227.1 million for Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow. Projections show the film earning as much as $32 million for the weekend, pushing its total to just shy of $250 million. This past week, the Oscar-nominated Sniper became the biggest war-themed film of all time, eclipsing the $216.5 million earned by Saving Private Ryan, not accounting for inflation.

American Sniper, now in its third weekend in nationwide release, is easily beating three new films braving a launch despite the NFL championship game: Project Almanac, Black or White and The Loft.

Theater attendance takes a big hit on Super Bowl Sunday, so it’s no surprise that no high-profile titles are opening this weekend. Indeed, both Project Almanac and The Loft open after long delays.

A found-footage thriller produced by Michael Bay‘s Platinum Dunes, Project Almanac is expected to fare the best of the trio with a debut in the $7.7 million to $8 million range from 3,893 locations, putting it in a close race for the No. 2 spot with family film Paddington. Still, that’s less than the $10 million to $12 million hoped for by Paramount Insurge, although the film cost a modest $12 million to make.

Project Almanac, earning a B CinemaScore, follows a brilliant high school student and his friends as they uncover blueprints for a mysterious device that allows them to time travel. Jonny Weston, Sofia Black-D’Elia, Sam Lerner, Allen Evangelista and Virginia Gardner star. It was originally set to open a year ago, but Bay wanted to tinker with the movie.

Black or White, filmmaker Mike Binder‘s racially charged drama starring Kevin Costner andOctavia Spencer, hopes to serve as counterprogramming for adults and earned $2.3 million on Friday from 1,823 locations for a projected $6 million weekend, the low end of expectations. Relativity acquired U.S. rights to the movie after its world premiere at the 2014 Toronto Film Festival and is releasing the film — which received a promising A- CinemaScore — in association with IM Global and Sunlight Productions.


When no studio would make the $9 million film, Costner invested some of his own money inBlack or White, which chronicles a bitter custody fight that ensues when a child’s African-American grandmother (Spencer) insists that the child be raised by her son, the girl’s father, and not by Costner’s character, her maternal grandfather. Veteran indie player Cassian Elwes is among the film’s executive producers.

The Loft, director Erik Van Looy‘s English-language remake of his 2008 Dutch film, quickly fell flat Friday, and may not clear $3 million for the weekend, putting it at No. 10. From Dark Castle Entertainment, the thriller was originally supposed to be distributed by Warner Bros. per its deal with Joel Silver‘s Dark Castle, but it moved to Universal when Silver pacted with that studio.

However, Open Road films subsequently announced it would release The Loft after Universal pulled the movie from its August 2014 release. The $14 million title, about a group of men who share a loft used for illicit affairs, stars James Marsden and Karl Urban, while MatthiasSchoenaerts reprises his role from the original film.

Earning a B- CinemaScore, The Loft is playing in 1,841 theaters.

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