Warner Bros. reported that “American Sniper,” which began showing at 7 p.m., was performing strongly in all markets and is expected to see the biggest opening of Eastwood’s career.
Universal’s cyber-terrorist tale “Blackhat” opened modestly by comparison with $179,000 at late shows on Thursday in 1,755 theaters. Starring Chris Hemsworth (“Thor”), “Blackhat” is on pace to do a quiet $10 million from 2,567 theaters over the four-day weekend.
“American Sniper” had already racked up $3.4 million playing just four theaters since Christmas. It goes wide this weekend in 3,555 venues, where it is expected to make $44 million-$48 million over the four-day Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday.
“American Sniper” received a best picture nomination, and star Bradley Cooper was tapped in the best actor category. Eastwood was passed over for a director nom.
Ticket sales for the biopic of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle are brisk, with Fandango reporting that “American Sniper” is the top January wide-release opener. The online ticketer reported that sales were 264% higher on Thursday than at the same point in time on Wednesday.
UPDATE, 8:06 a.m. — Sony’s comedy “The Wedding Ringer” grossed $800,000 at 2,354 locations on Thursday night and is on track for a healthy opening in the $28 million to $30 million range for the four-day opening weekend.
Starring Kevin Hart as a best man for hire, the movie expands to 3,003 on Friday. “Ringer” also stars Josh Gad, cost $23 million to produce and solidifies Hart’s star status after “Ride Along” and “Think Like a Man.”