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Eastwood's 'American Sniper' wins big in box office battle

/ Source: Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oscar-nominated war film "American Sniper" led U.S. and Canadian box office charts over the weekend with a record-setting $90.2 million in ticket sales, according to studio estimates.

The film, which smashed the record for a January weekend, was directed by Clint Eastwood and stars Bradley Cooper.

It far exceeded expectations after widely expanding to some 3,500 screens the day after scoring six Oscar nominations, including best picture and best actor for star Bradley Cooper, who plays a Navy Seal sharpshooter.

R-rated comedy "The Wedding Ringer" finished in second place with $21 million for three days through Sunday during the U.S. Martin Luther King Day holiday weekend.

Another new release, family film "Paddington" based on the series of classic children's books about a loveable bear, came in third with $19.3 million.

"The Wedding Ringer" stars Kevin Hart and Josh Gad in a buddy comedy about a for-hire best man, played by Hart.

"Paddington" chronicles the adventures of the bear (voiced by Ben Whishaw) who travels to London from Peru seeking a home. Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins and Nicole Kidman star in it.

"American Sniper" was released by Warner Brothers, a unit of Time Warner Inc. "The Wedding Ringer" was released by Sony Corp's movie studio. "Paddington" was released by The Weinstein Company.

(Reporting by Chris Michaud; Editing by Tom Heneghan)