ByJerome Maida, writer at
Jerome Maida

"American Sniper" continues to crush Hollywood records!

The Clint Eastwood war drama starring Bradley Cooper as U.S. sniper Chris Kyle obliterated all it's competition during the Martin Luther King weekend, setting a new record with ease for the holiday with $107.2 million.

That total more than doubled the number of the previous MLK Weekend record-holder, 2014's "Ride Along", which generated $48.6 million on it's way to a $134.9 million.

"American Sniper" also had a historic Monday, generating $17.9 million for the 17th-largest domestic Monday take ever.

While that may not seem THAT impressive at first glance, it should be noted that of the 16 films ahead of it on the Monday all-time list - led by the $27.6 million generated by 2004's "Spider-Man 2" - all but 2 of them are sequels to major franchises, like Pirates of the Caribbean, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, Shrek and Batman.

The other two? "Marvel's The Avengers" ($18.8 million Monday), which was the culmination of four other films and the third highest-grossing film of all-time domestically with $623.4 million AND "Avatar" ($19.4 million), which had been hyped for years, was directed by James Cameron and became the highest-grossing film of all-time domestically and internationally.

That's pretty impressive.

As a further sign of the box-office strength "American Sniper" currently has, it boasted the biggest theater average of the four-day weekend with an incredible $30,100 average for 3,555 locations. The only film within a sniper's shot during the weekend was "Still Alice", which generated $20,685 Per Screen Average on only 12 screens , for a little over $248,000.

There is little reason to believe that "American Sniper" is going to slow down substantially in the next two weeks.

It is more commercially appealing than the other Oscar nominees for Best Picture that will expand AND it faces three new films this coming weekend that each have an ingredient that theoretically should make them should make them formidable, but most likely won't.

Universal’s Jennifer Lopez thriller "The Boy Next Door" opens in over 2,500 theaters and has been marketed heavily for a month. Lopez's box-office clout is questionable these days and the trailer hardly screams "must-see"

Johnny Depp seems to have a role in his wacky wheelhouse with the quirky comedy "Mortdecai", which debuts in an in an estimated 2,600; theaters. However, Depp's star has dimmed in the past few years, with flops like "Transcendence" and "Dark Shadows". Plus, the trailer really doesn't tell you what the story is about or have truly memorable moments that grab you.

Meanwhile, Disney/Lucasfilm’s cartoon "Strange Magic" will debut in 2,700 theaters. Though written by George Lucas, this hasn't really been marketed as a Disney film, doesn't have a memorable trailer AND has done a poor job of emphasizing Lucas's connection to the project.

All of which means we are unlikely to see "Strange Magic" do as well as, say, "Big Hero 6", let alone "Star Wars" and "Raiders of the Lost Ark". Instead, we are more likely to have "Strange Magic" do the inflation-adjusted business of "Labyrinth" and "Howard the Duck".

All of which means that "American Sniper" is likely to keep breaking box-office records for quite a while.


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