American Sniper is top US and Canada box office hit for third week, Paddington second

Bradley Cooper in a scene from American Sniper. -- PHOTO: GOLDEN VILLAGE
Bradley Cooper in a scene from American Sniper. -- PHOTO: GOLDEN VILLAGE

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - Box office juggernaut American Sniper held the top spot at U.S. and Canadian box offices over the weekend with US$31.9 million (S$43.2 million) in ticket sales, according to studio estimates.

The Oscar-nominated war film directed by Clint Eastwood and starring best actor nominee Bradley Cooper as a Navy Seal sharpshooter easily triumphed over several new releases as it closed in on a domestic total of US$250 million since opening on Jan 16.

Family film Paddington, based on the series of classic children's books about a loveable bear in search of a home, finished in second with US$8.5 million for Friday through Sunday.

In a virtual tie, it sold just $5,000 more in tickets than sci-fi time travel tale Project Almanac, which debuted this weekend with US$8.5 million.

Sniper's continued strong performance helped drive overall box office performance on Super Bowl weekend, when many Americans are focused on the final game of the football season. Ticket sales were up about 23 per cent from the same weekend a year ago, according to tracking firm Rentrak.