ByJerome Maida, writer at
Jerome Maida

"American Sniper" is blowing a hole through a lot of Hollywood conventional wisdom.

You know, the Hollywood that traditionally doesn't think it's wise to open - or expand - would-be blockbusters in January.

The Hollywood that almost never shows American soldiers in a positive - let alone heroic - light anymore.

The Hollywood that seems to think "diversity" means catering to minuscule segments of the population, that they identify with - rather than making films that have appeal to a large segment of the population their fare usuall neglects.

I can analyze the above more thoroughly once the final 3-day and 4-day numbers for the weekend are in, but let me say right now that this is exciting to see.

When it did gargantuan business at only 4 theaters for the past few weeks, people knew it would be big.

Few expected it to be this big, however.

"American Sniper" opened to a staggering $30.5 million on Friday. to put that in perspective, that is more than any of director Clint Eastwood's films have opened to during an entire weekend.

To put it in further perspective, it's close to the total last January's "Lone Survivor" earned during it's entire opening weekend in wide release ($37.8 million).

To put it in yet more perspective, the Friday total for "American Sniper" is the largest single day ever in January; the previous record belonged to "Avatar", which took in $25.8 million on January 2nd, 2010. It's also 77 percent higher than the previous opening day January record, which belonged to "Cloverfield" ($17.2 million). Finally, the opening day for "American Sniper" is more than double that of last year's "Lone Survivor" and "Ride Along" (both at $14.4 million).

It is now a given that "American Sniper" will crush the January opening weekend record set by "Ride Along" last year, with $41.5 million.

"American Sniper" looks guaranteed to double that.

The only reason it may not break $100 million for the three-day weekend is that Sundsy there are the two NFL Conference Championship games - that will determine this year's Super Bowl participants - that will likely keep some guys home.

However, according to BoxOfficeMojo, if "American Sniper" plays like previous - and much weaker - Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend releases "Contraband" and "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit", it will reach $100 million on Monday.

With an A+ CinemaScore, it may even do better than that.

Whatever the final numbers are, it's clear "American Sniper" has given everyone - from ticket buyers to Hollywood as a whole - a big shot in the arm.


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