Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper has broken January box office records.
The film, starring Bradley Cooper as real-life war hero and U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, has stunned film experts with an opening weekend take of $90.2 million.
That’s $22 million more than Avatar‘s opening haul in 2010.
Eastwood’s new movie, which landed a string of Oscar nominations last week – including a Best Picture nod, is expected to gross more than $105 million over America’s four-day Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend. That’s more than double the figure film boffins predicted.
The movie’s success is a huge boost for the actor-turned-director, whose biggest debut as a filmmaker was previously $29.5 million for Gran Torino in 2008.
American Sniper opened in select cinemas in New York and Los Angeles on Christmas Day to packed cinemas, but it was only released nationwide on Thursday.
Josh Gad and Kevin Hart’s R-rated comedy The Wedding Ringer has opened in second place with $21 million and Paddington, debuted at three with a $19.3 million first-weekend haul.
Liam Neeson’s Taken 3 falls to four and director Ava Duvernay’s Martin Luther King, Jr-themed Selma rounds out the new top five films, according to box office estimates.