"SpongeBob" movie wipes "American Sniper" from top of U.S. box office

Sun Feb 8, 2015 11:54am EST
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Feb 8 (Reuters) - A talking animated sponge knocked a Navy Seal sharpshooter from the top of the box office chart as "The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water" took $56 million in ticket sales, deposing "American Sniper" after a three-week run at number 1.

The Oscar-nominated war film starring Bradley Cooper and directed by Clint Eastwood finished in second place with $24.2 million at U.S. and Canadian theaters for Friday through Sunday, according to studio estimates.

Another new release, the special effects-laden space saga "Jupiter Ascending," took $19 million to claim the No. 3 spot.

"SpongeBob," the second theatrical film based on the animated television series, follows the yellow sponge and his friends who must travel to the sea's surface to retrieve a secret recipe stolen by a pirate played by Antonio Banderas.

The film far exceeded industry forecasts for an opening of about $35 million.

"American Sniper," one of the biggest hits of the past year, has earned more than $282 million at U.S. and Canadian theaters since going into wide release on Jan. 16. The film received six Oscar nominations, including one for best picture.

"Jupiter Ascending" stars Channing Tatum as a genetically engineered interplanetary hunter and Mila Kunis as a down-on-her-luck maid destined for greatness far beyond Earth.

"American Sniper" and "Jupiter Ascending" were released by Warner Brothers, a unit of Time Warner Inc. Paramount, a unit of Viacom Inc., distributed "SpongeBob." (Reporting by Chris Michaud; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)