LOS ANGELES: Record breaking drama “American Sniper” remained firmly on top of the North American box office this weekend, shrugging off rumbling controversies to cement its status as the highest grossing war movie of all time, estimated figures showed Sunday.
The Clint Eastwood directed drama surpassed Steven Spielberg’s “Saving Private Ryan” as the most successful war film ever made last Thursday, after inching past the
1998 movie’s record haul of $216.5 million.
Eastwood’s movie, loosely based on the life of Chris Kyle, the deadliest sniper in US military history, has divided critics who have accused it of presenting a simplistic black and white view of the Iraq War.
But cinema goers have flocked to the film in droves, helping the movie earn another $31.8 million this weekend to take its total earnings to $248.9 million, figures from box office tracker Exhibitor Relations showed.
“American Sniper” which has been nominated for six Academy Awards has now set its sights on another box office record, aiming to become the highest grossing R-rated movie of all time.
That record currently belongs to Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ”, with $370 million.
In second place this weekend was children’s movie “Padding ton”, the acclaimed big screen adaptation based on the beloved books by English author Michael Bond, about a bear from deepest, darkest Peru with a taste for marmalade.
The movie took $8.51 million in its third week of release, pushing its earnings to $50.5 million.
Third place was taken by science-fiction thriller “Project Almanac,” about a group of friends who discover a time machine with disastrous consequences, which debuted with $8.5 million.
Fourth spot belonged to another new release, “Black or White,” a racially charged drama starring Kevin Costner as a widowed grandfather battling to retain custody of his granddaughter.
The film took $6.5 million.
Jennifer Lopez’s thriller “The Boy Next Door,” which stars the pop diva as a divorcee was fifth with $6.1 million.
Comedy “The Wedding Ringer” was sixth with $5.7 million, just ahead of Oscar nominated World War II drama, “The Imitation Game,” which stars Benedict Cumber batch as code breaking genius Alan Turing. The movie took $5.2 million.
Eighth place went to “Taken 3”, the latest installment of the successful action franchise starring Liam Neeson as a no-nonsense former CIA agent. The movie took $3.6 million in its fourth week of release, pushing its earnings past $81 million.
Musical fairy tale “Strange Magic” the first animated movie release by Lucasfilm since its 2012 purchase by Disney was ninth with $3.4 million while debuting thriller
“The Loft” rounded out the top 10 with $2.9 million.