UPDATE 1-Eastwood's "American Sniper" continues as U.S. box office juggernaut
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By Chris Michaud
NEW YORK Jan 25 (Reuters) - Oscar-nominated war film "American Sniper" continued to punish the competition at U.S. and Canadian box offices over the weekend, selling a whopping $64.4 million in tickets, according to studio estimates.
The film, directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Oscar nominee Bradley Cooper as a Navy Seal sharpshooter, has now taken in more than $200 million in U.S. and Canadian theaters since opening wide on Jan. 16.
The Jennifer Lopez thriller "The Boy Next Door" finished in second place on its opening weekend with $15 million from Friday through Sunday. Family film "Paddington," based on the series of classic children's books about a loveable bear seeking a new home, came in third for a second consecutive week with $12.4 million.
Two other new releases, Disney's "Strange Magic" and the Johnny Depp comedy "Mortdecai," opened in seventh and ninth places respectively, earning just $5.5 million and $4.1 million.
But audiences continued to flock to see Eastwood's big hit, "American Sniper," which Warner Bros, the Time Warner Inc unit that released the film, has called a "cultural phenomenon" after it smashed records for a drama film opening.
In its second week of wide release, the film scored the third-biggest January weekend in U.S. box office history, according to tracking firm Rentrak, and is now playing in 3,755 theaters, the most-ever for an R-rated film.
Studio officials said Lopez's "The Boy Next Door," in which the star plays a teacher who engages in a reckless liaison with a teen-aged neighbor, outperformed expectations for an opening of around $12 million to $13 million. Continued...