Clint Eastwood’s Iraq War biopic shattered box office records over the extended holiday weekend, after only debuting in four theaters nationwide.
American Sniper, which was directed by Eastwood and stars Bradley Cooper as famed navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle, became the top specialty debut of the year and the best ever for a limited Christmas release.
The film reportedly brought in $850,000 from four theaters over a period of four days, an average of $212,000 per location for Warner Bros.
Eastwood’s adaptation has also been awarded a rare “A+” CinemaScore from audiences, which could provide momentum when Warner Bros. opens the drama from Village Roadshow nationwide on Jan. 16, only a week after nominations for the Academy Awards are announced, reports TheWrap.
The film and its “combination of patriotism and real heroism clearly struck a chord,” said Dan Fellman, the head of domestic distribution for Warner Bros. “This was the perfect film for Clint, and Bradley Cooper is one of the great American actors of today.”
American Sniper has received rave reviews, with the New York Post’s Kyle Smith calling it “the year’s most extraordinary film.”
Smith’s review reads:
…We learn much about the price warriors pay. Cowboys, adventurers, joyriders—these are exactly what our best fighting men are not. They suffer merely to be alive, when so many brothers lie in boxes draped with flags. American Sniper does honor to them.
American Sniper is currently scoring 74 percent “fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes, with 82 percent of viewers giving the film a positive nod.
“Powered by Clint Eastwood’s sure-handed direction and a gripping central performance from Bradley Cooper, American Sniper delivers a tense, vivid tribute to its real-life subject,” a critic’s consensus states.
The adaptation is based on the memoir American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History, which was co-authored by Chris Kyle, Scott McEwan, and Jim DeFelice and adapted for screen by Jason Hall.
American Sniper is slated for an official U.S. release on Jan. 16.