February 2, 2015 8:22 am

‘American Sniper’ shoots down weekend competition

Bradley Cooper, in a scene from 'American Sniper.'

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NEW YORK — American Sniper shot down another box-office record: Its $31.9 million is the biggest Super Bowl weekend gross ever.

According to studio estimates Sunday, the Clint Eastwood film narrowly surpassed the previous top Super Bowl weekend draw at the North American box office. The concert film Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: The Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour opened with $31.1 million against the NFL’s big game in 2008.

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Hollywood often avoids competing with the Super Bowl as movie-going falls dramatically on Sunday, but American Sniper has proven an unlikely sensation. It has now made $248.9 million in six weeks (and only three weeks of wide release), making it the most lucrative war movie without adjusting for inflation. (The distinction was previously held by Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan.)

The competition was thin, as Hollywood held off any high-profile releases, effectively ceding the weekend to football.

The animated adaptation Paddington came in a distant second with $8.5 million in its third weekend. In a virtual tie with it was found-footage, time-traveling thriller Project Almanac.

Made by Michael Bay’s production company, Platinum Dunes, Project Almanac led a trio of new releases with modest box-office ambitions.

Black or White, a racially-charged custody drama that reteams Kevin Costner with The Upside of Anger director Mike Binder, opened in fourth with $6.5 million. Costner put up his own money to help finance the film.

Fifth place went to The Boy Next Door starring Jennifer Lopez.

The Loft, a much-delayed remake of a 2008 Dutch thriller directed by its original filmmaker, Erik Van Looy, attracted little interest. It made just $2.9 million.

© 2015 The Associated Press

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