TORONTO — Clint Eastwood’s war drama American Sniper blew away the competition — and industry expectations — by taking in $90 million over the weekend, according to studio estimates.
The film, based on the memoir of real-life sniper Chris Kyle and starring Bradley Cooper, shattered the previous record for a January opening held by last year’s Ride Along.
American Sniper had a limited release on Christmas Day to ensure it qualified for Academy Awards consideration. To date, the movie has grossed an estimated $119 million worldwide, making it the second highest-grossing film nominated for Best Picture this year.
The Grand Budapest Hotel has earned $174 million.
American Sniper is on track to be the top-grossing film directed by Eastwood, 84. Only three of his movies — Gran Torino, Million Dollar Baby and Unforgiven — have made over $100 million domestically.
BELOW: Watch the trailer for American Sniper
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The second biggest opening on the weekend belonged to The Wedding Ringer, a comedy starring Kevin Hart and Josh Gad. It made $21 million, according to studio estimates.
The family film Paddington was third with $19.3 million at the box office. It has already earned $122 million overseas, where it opened last November.
Taken 3, which opened in first place a weekend earlier, added $14 million to take fourth place.
READ MORE: Full coverage of the Academy Awards
Civil rights drama (and Best Picture nominee) Selma earned an additional $8.3 million to bring its total since Christmas Day to $26 million.
The thriller Blackhat was a flop, opening in 10th place with a mere $4 million.