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American Sniper targets shock $105.2 million debut in US

American Sniper

Story by Jack Foley

CLINT Eastwood’s American Sniper is targeting a massive $105.2 million debut in the US, double what it was expected to take.

The film, which chronicles the true story of Chris Kyle, the most lethal sniper in US military history, has already earned an estimated $90.2 million for the three-day weekend, with the $100-plus figure expected to be confirmed at the end of the long Martin Luther King Jr. weekend.

In doing so, the film – starring an Oscar-nominated Bradley Cooper in the lead role – has smashed numerous records.

Primarily, American Sniper‘s haul marks the largest opening of all time for the month of January, as well as the top number ever for a non-blockbuster title, as well as an R-rated modern-day war film.

The previous best for a drama was Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ with $83.8 million.

American Sniper cost $60 million movie to make.

In terms of Eastwood’s own box office, his previous best as a director was Gran Torino, which took $29.5 million.

Vying for second spot at the US box office, meanwhile, are Kevin Hart comedy Wedding Ringer and family movie Paddington. The former is on course to grab a four day total of $25 million, while Paddington is set to hit $25.6 million.

There was bad news for the weekend’s other big release, however, as Michael Mann’s cyber-thriller Blackhat, starring Chris Hemsworth, failed to break the top 10, earning only $4 million for a projected four day debut of $4.6 million. That would represent a major flop given the film’s $70 million production budget and would go down as 2015’s first box office flop.

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