According to early estimates, the film's weekend gross will raise its cumulative domestic take to $248.9 million in the U.S. and Canada, propelled in part by six Academy Award nominations, strong critical reception and an A-plus grade from audience polling firm CinemaScore.
The "American Sniper" numbers helped the U.S. and Canadian box office finish almost 20% above results from the same weekend last year, and year-to-date grosses are about 8.7% above 2013 numbers, according to research firm Rentrak.
"American Sniper" cost
Coming in at second for the weekend was
The movie is based on the popular English children’s literature character Paddington Bear, created by Michael Bond. It stars
Of the three new releases, teen time-travel drama "Project Almanac," distributed by Paramount Pictures, fared the best at No. 3. Though it fell slightly short of industry projections, the film grossed a decent $8.5 million in its debut.
The film, which cost just $12 million to make, was produced by
It earned a B-minus grade on CinemaScore and 36% positive rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.
"Black or White," released by Relativity Studios for a short awards-qualifying run in December, opened nationally this weekend in fourth place with about $6.5 million. Actor
“We are proud to support Kevin Costner and
"The Boy Next Door," which debuted to $15 million last weekend, finished in fifth with $6 million. The psychological thriller follows
"The Loft" rounded out the top 10 with a $2.9-million debut. Open Road films is distributing the murder mystery, which is based on a 2008 Dutch film. The film stars