This piece will be dealing solely with American Sniper and its stunning $30.5 million opening day, with the rest of the Friday box office news to follow.
Going into yesterday, the biggest opening weekend for a movie Clint Eastwood directed and/or starred in is Gran Torino, which opened in wide release in January 2009 with $29.5 million. The biggest January debut weekend was Ride Along, which earned $48m over the Fri-Sun frame of its $48m Fri-Mon MLK weekend last year. The biggest opening day in January was Cloverfield‘s $17.16m Friday as part of its (at the time) record-breaking $40m debut frame in 2008. The biggest single day was Avatar‘s $25.8m on January 2nd during its third weekend of release back in 2010. The biggest R-rated openings of all-time are Hannibal ($58m), 300 ($70m), The Passion of the Christ ($83m Fri-Sun during its $125m Wed-Sun bow) The Hangover part II ($85m Fri-Sun during its $135m Thurs-Mon bow), and The Matrix Reloaded ($91m Fri-Sun during its $134m Thurs-Sun bow).