Why ‘American Sniper’ is a smash hit

20 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘American Sniper’ Astounds With $105.3M Over MLK Weekend.

American Sniper, Clint Eastwood’s adaptation of Chris Kyle’s bestselling autobiography, exceeded all expectations last week by earning an obscene amount of money at the US box office: $105m over the Martin Luther King long weekend. Before it was a high-grossing, Oscar-nominated movie starring Bradley Cooper, American Sniper was a best-selling memoir by former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle.For the three-day weekend, the Clint Eastwood movie that stars Bradley Cooper as the screen version of the true-life Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle earned $105.3 million. “You have to do a double take,” said Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst with the box-office tracking firm Rentrak. “We’re not accustomed to seeing those kinds of numbers in January.” We’re also not entirely used to watching as a mainstream movie turns into a firefight on social media, but that also happened as the weekend unfolded. Americans went in their droves to watch a film that US conservatives, and red state audiences in particular, have already claimed as their own. “Hollywood leftists,” wrote Sarah Palin on Facebook, “just realise the rest of America knows you’re not fit to shine Chris Kyle’s combat boots.” Clearly, patriotism has significantly contributed to the film’s success, and the presence of “American” in its title will have helped tremendously.

Fans on Twitter and Facebook expressed their support for the film in mostly positive ways, though there was some ugliness, too, with racial and religious slurs and threats of violence in the mix. Pictures, Kyle Gallner, left, and Bradley Cooper appear in a scene from “American Sniper.” The film is based on the autobiography by Chris Kyle. (AP Photo/Warner Bros. Whether you’ve already seen the movie, want context before you go or just want to know more about the man behind the story, here is what you need to know about Kyle.

Between then and 1970, according to the American Film Institute, 191 of the country’s films had “American” in the title, while a further 63 had “America”. It began with travelogues boasting footage of the Niagara Falls (such as the 1896 opus American Falls from Incline Railroad), while 1903’s short silent movie Life of an American Fireman, made for the Edison Manufacturing Company, treated viewers to a woman and child being rescued from a burning building. A canny marketing strategy that banked on a bit of Oscar love helped (the movie grabbed six nominations Thursday), as did a bit of distance from the peak of the fighting in Iraq where Kyle served, some observers said. Rogen raised eyebrows Monday after he tweeted that “American Sniper” reminded him of the fake Nazi propaganda film playing in the third act of Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglorious Basterds,” which showed a German sniper killing 200 Allied soldiers from a clock tower. “I just said something ‘kinda reminded’ me of something else,” Mr.

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. Rogen clarified. “I actually liked ‘American Sniper.’ It just reminded me of the Tarantino scene… But if you were having a slow news day, you’re welcome for me giving you the opportunity to blow something completely out of proportion.” Mr.

That came armed with the tagline “The Great American Picture of Today”, and in the last few decades titles such as American Graffiti, American Beauty and American Hustle have been used to make salient points about the US, with films often retitled to get the message across in the second it takes to notice a billboard. And we all know the tragic twist (the slaying of Kyle at a Texas shooting range in 2013) which occurred after Warner Brothers decided to develop it. “So we have a movie based on a best-seller, it’s a perfect filmmaker for the material – Clint Eastwood hits and misses but he hits this one out of the park – and a movie star who’s perfect for the role. 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.

George Lucas’s original title for American Graffiti was Another Quiet Night in Modesto; Ridley Scott’s American Gangster was initially called Tru Blu; the American Pie screenplay was called East Great Falls High before the filmmakers opted to allude to both Don McLean’s song and the pie molested by Jason Biggs. “These films have underscored their role in interpreting and constituting ‘America’ by announcing themselves as titulary ‘American’,” writes Mandy Merck in her book America First: Naming The Nation In US Film, which traces it all back to 19th-century French historian Alexis de Tocqueville’s description of the country as “exceptional”. “Madness, beauty, graffiti, tragedy, romance, splendour and, of course, (apple) pie,” continues Merck, “all of these and many more have, at different historical moments and through the agency of filmmakers with widely various artistic, cultural and political agendas, found themselves rendered definitely ‘American’.” Whether these films celebrate or damn their own culture and history, they all trade on the country’s brand in true US fashion: loudly and proudly. He was honorably discharged in 2009. “Devil of Ramadi”: In Iraq, Kyle was so well-known that he was given the nickname “Devil of Ramadi” by Iraqi insurgents, who put a bounty on his head. And indeed they did.” In some sense, a more ephemeral kind of timing may have benefited “American Sniper,” in that as a culture we are farther from the traumas of having so many Americans fighting in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars but still live in semi-constant fear of terrorism. “There were a slew of wartime movies that just did not connect with moviegoers for many years, and I think we’re now at that point where we’re ready to see them and we want to see them and we need to see them,” Dergarabedian said. One of his often-cited anecdotes is making the decision to shoot a woman who was holding a grenade underneath her clothes — but who also had a child standing nearby — as Marines approached. In his memoir, Kyle didn’t bother to hide his rough edges, referring to Iraqis as “savages” and saying that killing the people he shot at times was “fun.” Questions have also been raised about the truthfulness of some of the stories he told, though the number of kills confirmed by the military – 160, which made him the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history – is not in question.

Still, the Internet throughout the weekend saw plenty of arguments over whether he was a hero or a murderer, which in typical online fashion involved plenty of ugliness. “American sniper makes me wanna go shoot some … Arabs,” read a comment on Twitter that’s representative of the minority of the film’s fans who made ugly comments. “If you forgive the expression, ‘American Sniper’ is an easy target,” Nunan said. “What I mean by that, it acts as somewhat of a Rorschach test for people who have strong feelings about our intervening militarily as a response to terrorism.” In other words, many will be predisposed to like or hate the film because of their personal beliefs, despite Nunan‘s feeling that it’s not “a dumb propaganda film” to promote the military. “The movie just offered up something that moviegoers wanted to see right now,” Dergarabedian said. “A story of valor and courage, and no matter what side of the aisle you’re on, you have to respect what these soldiers go through.” 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. 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. In its fourth weekend of release, the civil rights drama ‘‘Selma’’ took in $11.5 million on the holiday weekend that honors its protagonist, King.

Fight against PTSD: Kyle helped found FITCO Cares, a non-profit group that helped those struggling with PTSD, where he mentored other veterans with war injuries. 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. Sued by Jesse Ventura: In a case that settled on July 30, 2014, a federal jury awarded former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura $1.8 million in a defamation lawsuit against Kyle. In American Sniper, Kyle writes that he punched and knocked down Ventura on the sidewalk outside a California bar for making disparaging comments about the war in Iraq, a claim Ventura denied.

Kyle started his own company: When he left the Navy in 2009, Kyle co-founded Craft International, which provided tactical training to military and law enforcement. That I was going to do everything I could to tell this story.” Other work: Kyle wrote a second book, this one with author William Doyle, which was published after his death. Mooney, which was released on April 23, 2013. (And for those interested in the genre, here’s a roundup of more Navy SEAL memoirs, including No Easy Day by Mark Owen, which recounts the mission that killed Osama bin Laden.)

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