‘American Sniper’ sparks hate toward Arabs on Twitter

20 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘American Sniper’ astounds with $105.3M over MLK weekend.

NEW YORK (AP) — Clint Eastwood’s R-rated Iraq War drama “American Sniper” opened in January like a superhero movie in July, taking in a record $105.3 million over the Martin Luther King Jr. four-day weekend. The new film “American Sniper” has been slammed by critics as pro-war propaganda, but as far as some hateful Twitter users go, the movie is right on target.Variety reports that the fact-based military drama starring Bradley Cooper pulled in a jaw-dropping $90.2-million (U.S.) for its debut weekend in wide release throughout the U.S. and Canada. It’s not simply a look at the experiences of Chris Kyle, the Navy SEAL considered the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history, he said in a recent phone call.

It’s an attempt to describe war “in a way that it hadn’t been portrayed before.” Hall began the project in 2010 before the marksman’s memoir was published, basing his early script on Kyle’s early drafts of the book and many interviews. The resounding wide-release opening is also tops for the 84-year-old Eastwood, whose previous best weekend was the $29.5 million wide release of 2009’s “Gran Torino. Another Twitter user wrote: “Nice to see a movie where the Arabs are portrayed for who they really are — vermin scum intent on destroying us. #Deblasio #AmericanSniper.” “American Sniper” was the No. 1 film at the box office this weekend, but some say it went too far with its patriotic message.

And it, in one weekend, gives the Oscar best-picture race something it was lacking: a big ol’ box-office hit. “American Sniper, nominated for six Academy Awards, immediately becomes the top grosser of the best-picture nominees. Actor Seth Rogen compared the movie to Nazi propaganda, tweeting that the film “kind of reminds me of the movie that’s showing in the third act of Inglourious Basterds.” Some people tried to be the voice of reason, with one user tweeting: “American Sniper shouldn’t make you want to kill arabs, it supposed to depict the tolls and hardships and ugly things war does to people.” And although some theatre chains are likely still counting last weekend’s box-office receipts, some movie-industry analysts are already likening Sniper’s remarkable kickoff to that of Guardians of the Galaxy, last summer’s box-office blockbuster that became one of the year’s highest-grossing films primarily through word-of-mouth endorsements on social media.

That slow release pattern helped stoke demand for the film, in which Bradley Cooper stars as Navy SEAL marksman Chris Kyle. “It’s become a cultural phenomenon,” said Dan Fellman, head of domestic distribution for Warner Bros. “The movie reached an audience that’s very hard to tap into. In both red and blue states, small and large cities, tiny towns — everywhere we went — it broke records.” Going into the weekend, optimistic predictions for “American Sniper” were closer to $50 million, which still would have been an enormous success, particularly considering how little appetite audiences have had for movies about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. “This was maybe the most underestimated film of all time, considering that it did about twice what estimates predicted,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for box-office firm Rentrak. “This just doesn’t happen.” But the film was warmly embraced by conservatives, which Fellman said was a “huge” factor. Then in 2013 Kyle was killed by a troubled former Marine he was trying to help at a gun range. “I turned in the script and the next day he was murdered,” Hall said.

Dergarabedian said “American Sniper” resonated with audiences craving a celebration of valor, courage and patriotism. “American Sniper,” once pegged for release in late 2015, was moved up to qualify for this year’s Oscars. At the recent TV Critics Tour in Los Angeles, Fox chairman Dana Walden said that the ratings success of last year’s 24: Live Another Day has the network considering it, but admitted those plans might not include Kiefer Sutherland’s indestructible spy-guy Jack Bauer. “We have discussed it with him,” said Walden. “We talk to Kiefer all the time. After Eastwood’s other 2014 release, “Jersey Boys,” struggled in its June release, totaling $47 million, “American Sniper” — a $58 million co-production between Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow — was tossed into this year’s Christmas mix. His new script revealed who Kyle was before the war, his emotional sacrifice in battle and what he lost. “The difficulty he had transitioning back and forth from civilian life [to the war zone] was profound, something I hadn’t seen in other films.

I realised early on that whatever problems we had with this war, whatever decision we made about it, they [the soldiers] had made a much harder decision. One chapter that was not brought to screen concerned former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura, who sued Kyle’s estate for defamation after Kyle’s book said he beat a man (later identified as Ventura) for insulting SEALs. In a court settlement Ventura was awarded $US1.8 million. “In the book you come away with the sense that [Kyle was] this jaded character who’s a true patriot but also had a real chip on his shoulder. The film landed two Oscar nominations on Thursday, including best picture, but the snubbing of its star, David Oyelowo, and director, Ava DuVernay, drew widespread outrage. The pair were greeted at the Cleveland soundstage by a solitary hula dancer, which quickly became a large lei-wearing flash mob showcasing the dance talents of her co-stars Jane Leeves, Wendie Malick and Valerie Bertinelli.

An emotional White clapped hands along to the music and broke out laughing when someone held up a sign stating, “At 93, you shouldn’t be doing this!”

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