Among the newcomers, The Boy Next Door got off to a fine start, while Mortdecai and Strange Magic bombed.
American Sniper's $18.3 million haul is, by a large margin, the biggest second Friday ever for an R-rated movie. In comparison, The Passion of the Christ added $13.7 million, while The Matrix Reloaded and The Hangover Part II earned $10.3 million and $10.6 million, respectively. Sniper's second Friday was also significantly higher than all of 2014's superhero movies, which were in the $9 to $12 million range.
After eight days in nationwide release, American Sniper has already earned $154.1 million. On Friday, it passed Gran Torino to become director Clint Eastwood's highest-grossing movie ever. It also eclipsed Bradley Cooper's American Hustle.
American Sniper is on track to earn at least $60 million over the three-day weekend. If it follows the same pattern as Lone Survivor and Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit—from the same weekend last year—it will wind up with over $64 million. That will rank eighth all-time among second weekends.
In a distant second place, The Boy Next Door opened to an estimated $5.7 million at 2,602 locations. That's a bit lower than The Call's $6.18 million, but is noticeably higher than Jennifer Lopez's last starring vehicle, The Back-Up Plan ($4.26 million). The Boy Next Door should finish the three-day weekend with $15 to $17 million.
The Wedding Ringer took third place with an estimated $3.3 million, which is off 53 percent from its opening day. For the weekend, the movie should earn at least $10 million.
Paddington added $2.6 million—off 44 percent—for a new total of $30.3 million. Its second weekend should wind up in the $11 to $13 million range.
Taken 3 rounded out the Top Five with $2.07 million (down 57 percent). To date, the final installment in the action franchise has earned $70.5 million.
Johnny Depp's Mortdecai took eighth place with a horrible $1.47 million debut. That's actually lower than Depp's The Rum Diary, which opened to $1.84 million back in October 2011. It's also barely above last weekend's Blackhat, which took in $1.39 million on its first day. This is a stunningly poor opening for a movie with a handful of stars that's been marketed quite heavily in recent weeks; for the weekend, it should wind up with just over $4 million.
In ninth place, Strange Magic flopped with an estimated $1.3 million. It's on track to earn less than $5 million for the three-day weekend, which will qualify as one of the worst debuts ever for a movie playing at over 3,000 locations.
In far fewer theaters, Jennifer Aniston's Cake also got off to a poor start on Friday. The movie earned an estimated $266,000 at 482 locations, which puts it on track to miss $1 million this weekend.
1. American Sniper - $65 million
2. The Boy Next Door - $16 million
3. Paddington - $12 million
4. Wedding Ringer - $11 million
-. Strange Magic - $4.8 million
-. Mortdecai - $4.3 million
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• Forecast: 'Sniper' to Easily Fight Off Weak Competition This Weekend
• Grosses for Friday, January 23, 2015
• 2014 Domestic Box Office