The early estimates for director Clint Eastwood’s pro-War On Terror masterpiece “American Sniper” hovered around $40 million. Obviously our provincial box office gurus under-estimated the American people’s desire to see their warriors, wars, and country properly honored and honestly portrayed. In its wide-release debut, the story of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle is estimated to hit $75 million. UPDATE: $80 million.
Seventy-five million doesn’t just beat the previous January/Martin Luther King. Jr. weekend record, it obliterates the $41 million earned by “Ride Along” last year.
On Friday alone, with a $28 – $30 million haul, “American Sniper,” will beat or nearly beat Clint’s own best 3-day weekend; his “Gran Torino” haul of $29.5 million.
If that’s not enough, after bringing in $5.3 million, “Sniper” now holds the record for an R-rated movie’s late-night Thursday opening.
Despite a also-ran Best Picture nomination and adding +56 theatres, producer Oprah Winfrey’s dishonest Civil Rights drama “Selma” lost -19% of its audience over last weekend.
That’s the worst showing of any Best Picture nominee still in theaters.
After a disastrous opening weekend, “Selma” could only dig up another $11.2 million over — of all things — the Martin Luther King, Jr. 4-day weekend.
God, family and country are box office bonanzas.
Race-hoaxes are box office embarrassments.
Gee, who would have ever guess that?
ADDED: If you want to honor the great Dr. King this weekend, this is about as good as it gets. If you want to see two outright masterpiece’s that really were snubbed by Oscar, watch Spike Lee’s “Do The Right Thing” and “Malcolm X” — two of the greatest movies ever made. Period.
John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC