Warner Bros. is reporting that Friday ticket sales for American Sniper to be an estimated $30.5M. Not only is that a single day opening record for the month of January, it is the biggest opening of any Clint Eastwood film.
It’s already on pace to shatter all January weekend records as it could clear as high as $80 million by Monday. This is the first official weekend where American Sniper had a major release (see what we said about the film back in December), as it had been playing on four screens in NY/LA since Christmas Day. But since bowing on December 25th, it made $3.4M in 22 days. The per-screen average of the four screens has been otherworldly, starting with $60,053 and never dipping below a $20k average until January 12th.
The traction for this film has been crazy. Pre-sells at big and small theater chains alike have been strong in the days and weeks preceding its national release on January 16th. Factor in its A+ Cinemascore, six Oscar nominations (including biggies for best picture and actor Bradley Cooper), and Eastwood’s pedigree among older audiences (and those with strong second amendment convictions) and you see the puzzle pieces start to fall into place for box office success.
Still, I think the success lies in Warner Bros. and its marketing campaign. Great movie ads on the big screen and especially TV, where the spots were in heavy rotation during the NFL playoffs and on the Fox News Channel, were enough to make even the most jaded moviegoer – political affiliations be damned – want to see this movie. The true story nature of the film and how it connects with the culture of the time is another factor for pulling in an infrequent movie-going audience.
Tags: American Sniper, box office, Bradley Cooper, Clint Eastwood