Box-Office Shocker: ‘American Sniper’ Could Now Score $100M Debut

Clint Eastwood‘ record-breaking American Sniper continues to astound at the North American box office, where it earned an estimated $90.2 million for the three-day weekend for a possible $100 million debut over the long  Martin Luther King Jr. weekend — double what it was expected to do.

That’s the largest opening of all time for the month of January, as well as one of the top grosses ever for a non-tentpole, much less an R-rated, modern-day war film. The film is playing in 3,555 locations.

Earning a coveted A+ CinemaScore in every category, Eastwood’s movie is galvanizing moviegoers in both red states and blue states. It is expanding nationwide after nabbing six Oscar nominations on Thursday, including best picture and best actor (Bradley Cooper). Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow partnered on Sniper, based on the real-life story of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle and set over the course of the war in Iraq.

American Sniper first debuted Christmas Day in four theaters in Los Angeles, New York and Dallas (Kyle was from Texas). The $60 million movie, earning nearly $4 million in its limited run, continues to be unique in appealing to both art house audiences as well as more politically conservative moviegoers.

To date, Gran Torino ($29.5 million) is Eastwood’s top opening as a director, while Kevin Hart‘s Ride Along, released a year ago on the same weekend, boasts the top opening for January with a three-day debut of $41.5 million. Its four-day take was $48.6 million.