LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - "American Sniper" and "Selma" -- the last awards contenders to open this year -- have launched impressively in their Christmas Day debuts.
Warner Bros.' "Sniper," starring Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller, was particularly stellar with $240,212 at four venues -- breaking the all-time record for a limited release under 10 screens on Christmas Day.
It played in Dallas, Los Angeles and New York.
Clint Eastwood directed the R-rated "American Sniper" from a script by Jason Hall, based on Chris Kyle's autobiography about his tour of duty in Iraq and his struggles as a father and husband.
Warner Bros. will expand "American Sniper" into a nationwide release on Jan. 16 -- the day after Oscar nominations are announced.
Paramount's "Selma" also scored solidly with $322,000 at 19 locations in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Atlanta. That's nearly $17,000 per venue.
The $20 million film chronicles the 1965 civil rights campaign and has been nominated for four Golden Globes. It will expand into a nationwide release on Jan. 9.
Directed by Ava DuVernay, "Selma" stars David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr. and Tom Wilkinson as President Johnson. Also starring are Cuba Gooding Jr., Alessandro Nivola, Giovanni Ribisi, Common, Carmen Ejogo, Lorraine Toussaint, Tim Roth and Oprah Winfrey.
Producers are Christian Colson, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner and Winfrey.