Skip to main content

Headshot: American Sniper shatters January opening weekend record

bradley cooper black flags miniseries american sniper
Warner Bros.
American Sniper, the Clint Eastwood-directed biopic of U.S. Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper) beat out Avatar this past weekend for the largest January opening weekend box office on record. The film pulled in a whopping $90.2 million over the weekend, handily surpassing Avatar‘s previous January record of $73 million domestic.

Those are the kinds of numbers usually reserved for summer superhero blockbusters. Audiences were no doubt encouraged by the recent Oscar nominee announcements, of which American Sniper garnered six, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Cooper.

The film tells the true story of Kyle, dubbed by the U.S. military as the most lethal sniper in American history. He earned the nickname “Legend” for racking up 160 confirmed kills (though he later claimed it was 255) over four tours of duty in Iraq.

The film portrays both Kyle’s time in the field and his subsequent civilian life with his wife (Sienna Miller, Foxcatcher) and two children. Kyle was killed in 2013 by a PTSD-suffering Marine at a Texas shooting range.

Vocal support and dissent has come from both sides of the aisle about the film’s alleged political leanings, although the debate has of course only raised the film’s profile in public discourse, bolstering its box office draw. Cooper has, for his part, emphasized the personal narrative over the political.

“For me, and for Clint, this movie was always a character study about what the plight is for a soldier,” said Cooper in an interview with The Daily Beast.

“The guy that I got to know, through all the source material that I read and watched, and home videos—hours and hours—I never saw anything like that. But I can’t control how people are gonna use this movie as a tool, or what they pick and choose whatever they want. But it would be short-changing, I think. If it’s not this movie, I hope to god another movie will come out where it will shed light on the fact of what servicemen and women have to go through, and that we need to pay attention to our vets. It doesn’t go any farther than that. It’s not a political discussion about war, even…It’s a discussion about the reality. And the reality is that people are coming home, and we have to take care of them.”

Editors' Recommendations

Will Fulton
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Will Fulton is a New York-based writer and theater-maker. In 2011 he co-founded mythic theater company AntiMatter Collective…
The 50 best shows on Netflix in April 2024
Richard Gadd in Baby Reindeer.

As we head into the middle of April, the TV rankings on Netflix are a bit unusual. Ripley has fallen off quickly after debuting last week, while original series from March, like 3 Body Problem and The Gentlemen, are still among the most popular shows on Netflix. They've just been eclipsed by unheralded series like Files of the Unexplained and Parasyte: The Grey.

This week, Netflix has added an animated revival of Good Times, as well as a British drama/comedy called Baby Reindeer. That's not a bad way to go into the weekend, but we're still holding out hope for some stronger Netflix originals before the month is over. In the meantime, keep reading for our complete roundup of the best shows on Netflix right now.

Read more
The best new shows to stream on Netflix, Hulu, Max (HBO), and more
Ghoul appears in a scene from Fallout.

If there's anything we live for in the streaming era, it's the weeks where we have more than enough new shows to watch. This week, Amazon Prime Video has dropped all eight episodes of Fallout, which could take up a weekend all by itself. And on Sunday, April 14, HBO and Max are premiering the first episode of The Sympathizer, a miniseries that will likely earn Robert Downey Jr. an Emmy Award next fall.

Apple TV+ has also premiered Franklin, a Revolutionary War-era miniseries about Benjamin Franklin's time in France. That show arrived right on the heels of Apple TV+'s Sugar, which premiered last week. And there are still more new shows coming in April.

Read more
Stranger Things season 5: everything we know so far
The cast of "Stranger Things" stand next to each other and look up.

After one of the great cliffhangers in the show's history, fans are eager to gather every detail about Stranger Things 5. Understandably, season 5, the finale of Netflix's Stranger Things, is now one of television's most highly anticipated events. Since Vecna succeeded in tearing open a massive gate to the Upside Down, audiences now expect the heroes of Hawkins to engage in an epic final battle against the evil psychic and his army of monsters.

At this point, details regarding the season to end all seasons have been scarce, and the world likely won't get to see the show's last episodes for quite a while. In the meantime, here's everything that has been revealed and should be expected from Stranger Things 5.
Stranger Things season 5 release date

Read more