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‘American Sniper’ Looking at Impressive $50 Million-Plus Weekend

Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper” has solidified its status as a smash hit, topping expectations with a second weekend heading for $50 million-plus at 3,705 sites.

Some early estimates pegged the second “Sniper” weekend at close to $60 million, which would leave the U.S. cume within hailing distance of $200 million. Warner Bros. offered a more cautious estimate in the high 40s, noting the unpredictability of Saturday’s numbers.

In any case, the Iraq War drama is showing impressive legs, with a decline of less than 50% following its record-setting wide opening over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekemd.

“Sniper” was so strong that it will probably triple the take of the next film on the chart — Jennifer Lopez’s thriller “The Boy Next Door.” And in a case of collateral damage, Lionsgate’s “Mortdecai” was dead on arrival with a dismal $6 million weekend for the Johnny Depp comedy, about half of what had been expected.

Warner Bros. “Sniper” continues to defy forecasters, who were projecting a weekend in the vicinity of $40 million. With $185 million banked by Sunday, it will have topped the U.S. total of all but 15 titles released last year, including “How to Train Your Dragon 2” at $177 million and “Gone Girl” at $168 million.

“Sniper” held up well in weekday showings with $9.9 million on Tuesday, $7.6 million on Wednesday and $7.7 million on Thursday, lifting its U.S. total to $135.8 million.

Universal’s “The Boy Next Door” was headed to a respectable $16 million at 2,602 sites including $500,000 at 1,869 locations in Thursday night showings. The Universal title, produced by Blumhouse, had been expected to bring in between $12 million to $15 million for its opening weekend.

The Weinstein Co.’s second weekend of talking-bear comedy “Paddington” was pegged to wind up at around $13 million, followed by Sony’s sophomore session of Josh Gad-Kevin Hart comedy “The Wedding Ringer” at about $11 million and Fox’s third weekend of “Taken 3” with $7 million.

Disney’s “Strange Magic,” a computer-animated film about goblins and elves produced by Lucasfilm, was battling “Mortdecai” for sixth place with about $6 million.

With “Sniper” racking up six Oscar nominations and dominating public discussion, the R-rated “Mortdecai” wasn’t able to generate any traction. The caper comedy, which carries a price tag of around $60 million, was beset by mostly negative reviews and Depp’s diminishing star power.

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