Proving once again that Middle American patriotism should not be underestimated, the Clint Eastwood film ‘American Sniper’ opened in wide release over the Martin Luther King weekend to filmgoers who plunked down a record-breaking $105 million in domestic box office to see a film that cost producers just $60 million to make.
The life story of a former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle pulled best in theaters located in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, New York and California according to weekend data provided by Rentrak Corporation, a global media measurement and research company serving the entertainment industry.
“This is staggering. Its blockbuster numbers in January, the sort of numbers usually reserved for summer films and superhero movies,” said Rentrak senior analyst Paul Dergarabedian in USA Today.
Dergarabedian added, “this was maybe the most underestimated film of all time, considering that it did about twice what estimates predicted.”
“It shows the depth of the movie. It is playing in both red states and blue states,” Warner’s domestic distribution chief Dan Fellman told Hollywood Reporter analyst Brian Porreca.
“It’s the biggest opening of all time for a war film, but people don’t view it as a war film. It is about a true hero, and family and patriotism. It doesn’t matter that the movie is R-rated, which is sometimes a problem in smaller towns. This is the first real superhero movie.”
There was some disagreement among the Hollywood Left, which has led to Chris Kyle’s widow, Taya Kyle, cancelling appearances.
An event organizer that was hosting the widow told the Star Tribune, “Her reps just called me and apparently due to some comments made by Michael Moore, they are cutting off her press.”
Moore’s comments as well as the legal battle between Chris Kyle’s estate and Jesse Ventura have put a chill on candid conversations with Kyle’s widow.
Ventura sued Kyle’s estate in 2014 for defamation and won a $1.8 million verdict. The lawsuit money awarded to Ventura will go against Kyle’s widow and the two children the Navy Seal left behind after his death in 2013.
While Taya Kyle will continue some interviews, questions regarding Moore’s comments, Ventura and the ongoing murder trial of her husband’s killer are now off of the table.