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‘American Sniper’ Sacks Three Openers With $10 Million Friday at Box Office

Iraq War saga heads for $30 million and 3rd straight win on Super Bowl weekend. ”Project Almanac“ eyes $8 million, ”Black or White“ on $6 million pace and ”The Loft“ is DOA

“American Sniper” pulled its own version of “Deflate-gate” at the box office on Friday.

The Iraq War saga took in nearly $10 million and squeezed the air out of three movies’ openings as the Best Picture Oscar nominee headed for $30 million and its third straight weekend triumph, That’s impressive given Sunday’s Super Bowl, which annually sacks box-office grosses on this weekend, and will raise the Warner Bros. juggernaut’s domestic total to nearly $250 million.

The Paramount Pictures’ teen time-travel tale “Project Almanac” clanked to $3.1 million from 2,893 theaters Friday and is heading for an underwhelming $8 million three-day total. Kevin Costner’s race relations drama “Black or White” debuted with $2.2 million from 1,829 locations and will wind up around $6 million over the three days for Relativity Studios. It received an “A-” CinemaScore from audiences, which should help in coming weeks.

The film is on pace to finish third and fourth, behind “Paddington,” the family romp starring a computer-generated British bear from “Harry Potter” producer David Heyman. It brought in $3.3 million Friday and is on course for an $8.6 million third weekend that will lift its domestic total to $50 million for the Weinstein Company.

The weekend’s other wide opener, “The Loft,” took in just over $1 million from 1,841 theaters Friday and will struggle to make the top ten with less than $3 million for Open Road Films.

The Jennifer Lopez thriller “The Boy Next Door” was fifth with $2.1 million Friday and is looking at a $6 million second week for Universal Pictures. That would be a 60 percent fall from its opening weekend but put its domestic total at nearly $25 million, not bad for a film with a $4 million production budget.

The Kevin Hart-Josh Gad comedy “The Wedding Ringer” followed with $1.9 million and should finish with around $6 million. That will lift it past $48 million after three weeks for Sony’s Screen Gems.

Things got a little better in the second week for “Strange Magic,” the animated musical produced by “Star Wars” creator George Lucas that tanked in its debut last weekend. It’s on pace to take in $3.2 million for the three days, after bringing in $785,000 Friday, which would give it a two-week total of $9.6 million. .

But there was no good news for Johnny Depp’s “Mortdecai.”

The ensemble comedy tumbled out of the top ten and brought in an anemic $463,000 Friday. It’s looking at $1.4 million for the weekend, which would be a steep 67 percent drop from its disastrous debut last weekend. And it would leave its domestic total at less than $7 million for Lionsgate Entertainment, not good for a movie with a $40 million production budget.

“The Imitation Game” took in $1.6 million Friday, after Weinstein added 377 locations to give the Benedict Cumberbatch historical drama its highest theater total yet, at 2,402.

It averaged $2,195 per site and should end the weekend at around $5.2 million, giving it a $68 million domestic haul after 10 weeks. Other than “American Sniper,” that’s the best of any Best Picture Oscar contender.

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