How Clint Eastwood’s ‘American Sniper’ has been swept up in the American …

20 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘American Sniper’ smashes records with $90M weekend.

Everyone involved with this week’s most popular movie claims it has nothing to do with politics. WESTWOOD (CBSLA.com) — A pair of celebrity personalities are under fire after making controversial remarks over the film “American Sniper” over Twitter.Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper” ignited the holiday weekend box office, leaving January records behind as it made a stunning $90.2 million in three days.

American Sniper was expected to do well this weekend after an impressive limited release, but not this well: The Clint Eastwood-directed war film took in an estimated $90.2 million—and broke a few records.Fans of “American Sniper” rushed to defend the controversial new movie Monday, blasting critics who called it pro-war propaganda and lauding the real-life Navy SEAL who is the basis of the story. The film, a true story directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle, the US military’s most prolific sniper, made headlines after smashing box office records with a $90 million weekend.

The total easily topped the previous January high, James Cameron’s “Avatar” at $68 million in 2010.Warner Bros. estimates that “American Sniper” will make $105 million over the four-day Martin Luther King weekend, which would be another record. “This is staggering. The Oscar-nominated film set a new record for a January opening by taking in $30.5 million on Friday, breaking the mark set by Cloverfield ($17.2 million on Jan. 18, 2008).

Director Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper” simply explains the “plight” of the soldier, he told the Daily Beast, providing a “character study about a soldier.” But this was no ordinary soldier. Actor Seth Rogen took to Twitter, stating that the film reminded him of a scene in the WWII picture ‘Inglorious Basterds’, in which a Nazi propaganda film is being shown. “Oscar voters like controversy,” Johnson said. “They like to give the award to controversial films, but they don’t necessarily like giving awards to divisive films.”

It’s blockbuster numbers in January, the sort of numbers usually reserved for summer films and superhero movies,” says Paul Dergarabedian, senior analyst for Rentrak. “No one saw this coming. The film has been building an audience and blasting any projections all weekend.” The $105 million tally is more than double what analysts were expecting,Dergarabedian says.

American Sniper also took a couple records from James Cameron’s Avatar, which previously held the records for biggest January weekend performance (it made $68.5 million the first weekend of 2010) and biggest gross for a single day ($28.5 million) in January. Seth Rogen tweeted, “American Sniper kind of reminds me of the movie that’s showing in the third act of Inglorious Basterds”, referring to the fake film that showed up the Quentin Tarantino’s movie, about a German sniper killing Allied soldiers from a clock tower, essentially comparing Eastwood’s film to Nazi propaganda. It shows the sacrifice we all should make to keep USA the best.” And Twitterer David Higgins wrote: “A sniper is one of the most isolated and vulnerable combat roles. It marks director Eastwood’s biggest debut, surpassing “Gran Torino,” which earned $29.5 million in 2008. “American Sniper” topped that with Friday’s $30.5 million opening. This is big for Sniper, especially given the sluggish starts for Clint Eastwood films lately: His last two films, 2014’s Jersey Boys and 2011’s J.

Yet #MichaelMoore thinks #ChrisKyle was a #Coward? #Idiot.” Faced with the backlash, Moore backtracked on his comment, which he said he made because his uncle was killed in World War II by a sniper. Before he was shot to death at a Texas gun range, Chris Kyle, who claimed he killed 150 people while working as a sniper in Iraq, oozed conviction and charisma. The estimated IMAX total on 332 screens for the four-day weekend is $11.5 million (yet another record). “American Sniper,” with Bradley Cooper starring as Navy SEAL sharpshooter Chris Kyle, initially opened in December to packed theaters in limited release — making nearly $3.4 million on a handful of screens in Los Angeles, New York and Dallas. 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. American Sniper‘s wide release came on the heels of its success at Thursday’s Oscar announcement: The film was nominated for six Academy Awards, including one for Best Picture.

Nick Irving of the Army’s Third Ranger Battalion and author of the book “The Reaper” told FOX News, “A lot of good guys and a lot of my friends died, you know, for his right of freedom of speech, so I’m not really worried about what he has to say.” This announcement perfectly coincided with Sniper‘s Friday wide release, giving viewers who were previously on the fence about the movie—or just didn’t know about the movie—a reason to head to the theater.

Some circulated a recent article by Dennis Jett of The New Republic that attacks the movie for making a hero out of Kyle, the film-news site TheWrap reported. This is nearly half of what Ride Along, Hart’s comedy that opened at this exact time last year, made its opening weekend, but it’s to be expected: The Wedding Ringer had to play against multiple new films with much more buzz, so the fact that it grossed a bit over $20 million—and is well on its way to breaking even with its $23 million budget—is in itself a success. The film, based on the beloved bear star of the children’s books, scored well with critics (98% approval on Rotten Tomatoes) and audiences (87%) alike.

Family-friendly Paddington also did predictably well with $19.3 million, a number definitely helped by those with kids looking for a PG alternative to the darker or raunchier films currently in theaters. One of those darker films is Taken 3, which was number one last weekend but dropped down to the number four spot this time around with $14.1 million, 64 percent less than its $39.2 million opening.

And then there were the tales Kyle told about himself, which came under increasing suspicion after numerous journalists tried — and failed — to corroborate them. Appropriately, director Ava DuVernay’s “Selma” rounded out the top five films with $8.3 million for the three-day weekend, and an estimated $10.3 million for the full MLK holiday. After Eastwood’s other 2014 release, Jersey Boys, struggled in its June release, totalling $47 million, American Sniper — a $58 million co-production between Warner Bros and Village Roadshow — was tossed into this year’s Christmas mix. The cyber thriller, starring Chris Hemsworth and directed by Michael Mann, has been plagued with less-than-stellar reviews—it currently has a 32 percent on Rotten Tomatoes—that likely contributed to its relatively weak performance.

And he also falsely claimed that he punched out former Minnesota governor Jesse “The Body” Ventura after Ventura, a former special forces operative himself, disparaged the U.S. It’s a lesson journalist Rania Khalek, who calls objectivity “bulls–t” on her Twitter profile, learned days ago when she let loose with a series of tweets that took aim at Chris Kyle. She highlighted several passages in Kyle’s book, also named “American Sniper.” “Savage, despicable evil,” Kyle wrote. “That’s what we were fighting in Iraq. 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. DO ALL A FAVOR..GO KILL YOURSELF.” Or, as the left-wing website Alternet commented after posting an article critical of Kyle: “This kicked off an endless flood in our Twitter mentions of outraged right-wing military worshipers who’ve whipped themselves into a hateful frenzy out of blind obedience to a mass killer.” Even those who were less incendiary were met online venom.

Universal and Focus are owned by NBC Universal, a unit of Comcast Corp; Sony, Columbia, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp. But that wasn’t before he got walloped: “Amazing considering guys like Kyle are the reason you’re not sitting in a NKorean prison right now,” one person told him. But, he added, “most of us were taught the story of Jesse James and that the scoundrel wasn’t James (who was a criminal who killed people) but rather the sniper who shot him in the back.

Hopefully not on this weekend when we remember that man in Memphis, Tennessee, who was killed by a sniper’s bullet.” Sarah Palin got into it, excoriating “Hollywood leftists” for “spitting on the graves of freedom fighters who allow you to do what you do, just realize the rest of American knows you’re not fit to shine Chris Kyle’s combat boots.” The exchanges are just the latest eruption in a long culture war, analysts said. “As screenings have sold out, conservative media has manned barricades against liberals who have attacked the movie or the idea of lionizing Kyle,” conservative David Weigel wrote for Bloomberg. He noted that much of the controversy involves the extended battle over guns–and gun control–and pro-Iraq war conservatives versus anti-war liberals. The number of Americans who have served in the Armed Services continues to decrease, many have commented upon what appears to be a growing cultural divide between civilians and combat veterans.

Today fewer than .5 percent do, and many belong to a demographic that military analyst Thomas Ricks called “socially isolated, politically conservative.” That growing chasm has resulted in a modern America in which few grant much thought to soldiers, except for ritualized reverence of their service. If there’s any cultural force that exacerbate misunderstandings, its movies like “American Sniper,” according to Karl Eikenberry and David Kennedy in the New York Times in 2013.

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