Bradley Cooper has a pep in his step after American Sniper breaks opening day …

20 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘American Sniper’: Making a box office statement.

Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper is riding high at the weekend box office where it has already scored $30.5 million on Friday, according to studio estimates.Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper has only been playing in four theaters since its Dec. 26 limited release, yet it’s somehow managed to gross $3.4 million—a number that foreshadows an impressive weekend when the film opens wide Friday.

Contrino predicts the film could land in record-breaking January territory — the $75-$80 million range — for the weekend. “The word of mouth on this is so incredibly strong. The film’s subject, Chris Kyle, was the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history, with 160 kills, and he retired from the military in 2009, finding ways to help veterans back home with his family in Texas. Taya Kyle misses the way her husband, Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, would hold her close or reach for her hand and make her laugh as they were walking in the Texas countryside. “I was madly in love with him and still am,” Taya tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. This is uncharted territory.” The R rated film, which has Bradley Cooper starring as real-life Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle, received a boost on Thursday with six Oscar nominations — including best picture and best actor for Cooper.

That’s not to mention Taken 3, the Liam Neeson-led action flick that had an impressive $39.2 million debut last weekend and that should still be a contender in the top five for at least another week or two. Video: In 2012, TODAY’s Lester Holt met Chris Kyle, the man who inspired the Oscar-nominated film “American Sniper,” and talked to the former Navy sniper about his time serving his country and his complex relationship with his wife. Still Alice, which nabbed an Oscar nod for Julianne Moore’s performance as a professor suffering from Alzheimer’s, is opening in limited release this weekend, but not in enough theaters to make it to the top of the box office. Here’s our predictions who will: American Sniper was already doing well in theaters… and then it was nominated for six Academy Awards this morning, including one for Best Picture.

And the film’s stars, Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller, said that portraying the Kyles’ relationship honestly, and how Chris was torn between his duty to his family and his country, was an important part of the film-making process. “I think that it’s an essential part of Chris’s story,” Miller said. “Because the dilemma that he’s in — trying to juggle a home life with a wife and two children, but feeling like when he’s at home, there are people dying — that probably wouldn’t if he was there.” Ultimately, Kyle’s need to protect those in danger led him to four deployments in Iraq. The veteran, in 2012, told Holt that his goal after retiring form the military was to raise awareness for the troops, and encourage “random acts of kindness to show your thanks.” He said that he wanted fellow veterans to “know that they’re wanted and loved.” “He had such a humility and such a heart of service that was in this package that was fun-loving and protective, and had all these nuances that made it always interesting,” Taya said. “But he chose war because he knew that was protecting people.”

His moral compass was probably locked in place by his Sunday School teacher dad, who actually did lecture him that ‘There are three types of people in world son. There’s sheep, and there’s wolves, and there’s sheepdogs – and their job is to protect the sheep…’ On arriving in Iraq, Kyle quickly found that was he a phenomenal marksman, and that his blood ran ice-cold under pressure. On Feb. 2, 2013, a former Marine whom Chris was trying to helping cope with post traumatic stress disorder allegedly shot and killed Chris and his friend Chad Littlefield, on a Texas gun range. Hart is undeniably a draw for viewers, but this weekend’s line-up is stacked with other big movies with more prestige and hype that viewers must gravitate toward instead.

But there will always be comedy fans who just want to see a fun movie regardless of reviews, and those will be the people who help launch the film at the number two spot. There is real presence and heft to Cooper’s portrayal; we believe the characterisation, and we understand how the soldiers Kyle watched over from his sniper’s nest came to believe in him. Taken 3‘s first weekend was expected to match the first film’s opening of $24.7 million, but instead it was closer to Taken 2‘s $49.5 million with a strong $39.2 million opening. Eastwood’s output over the last few years has been troublesome, and I wondered after Hoover and Jersey Boys whether he had another decent film in him.

Even when a local police officer came to her house to tell her the news she had dreaded for years – that her husband had been killed – she says she resisted going to that “dark place” she feared. “I was just focused on what I had learned over the years: don’t go there until you know.” When her girlfriend told her the officer had come to her house to talk to her about Chris, “I thought, ‘I’m going to hear what hospital I’m going to go to,” she says. “But the officer looked at me kind of sad and said, ‘I’m sorry. Why can’t they fix Daddy’s heart?’ I try not to be angry too much, but the kids are the ones that got cheated the most.” Chris had been working with screenwriter Jason Hall and Bradley Cooper to bring his story to the big screen when he died. It’s been a tremendous blessing.” To make sure the filmmakers got her husband’s story right, she opened her heart and her home to Cooper and Eastwood, telling them everything she could about the deadly sniper that Iraqi insurgents called “the Devil of Ramadi,” but who was also giving and loving. “He was a man with a huge heart and charisma and kindness,” she says. “I think the blessing is that Chris really lived. That takes an incredible amount of heart.” She admires Chris for how much pride he took in protecting his fellow soldiers on the battlefield. “I got a medal from a Marine who came home who said, ‘I am here because Chris saved my life, and I have a 2-year-old daughter that I never would have without Chris,’ ” says Taya. “It’s just about protecting each other, watching each other’s back and bringing each other home.” Taya says her family and friends, her faith and her children are helping her to live her life without her husband by her side. While she is preparing for the upcoming capital murder trial of Eddie Ray Routh, the 25-year-old charged with killing Chris and Littlefield, she says giving back is also helping her face her grief.

She founded the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation to help enrich the relationships of military and first responders’ families. “That’s an honor and a privilege to work on,” she says.

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