'American Sniper' Quickly Becoming No. 1 War Film
American Sniper has set its sights on another record: Within a matter of days, it will overtake Steven Spielberg's WWII classic Saving Private Ryan to become the top-grossing war-themed film of all time in North America, not accounting for inflation.
Clint Eastwood's history-making movie jumped the $200 million mark on Sunday, putting it ahead of Michael Bay's Pearl Harbor, another WWII title, which topped out at $198.5 million domestically in 2001. American Sniper is distinct from those two film in being set during a modern-day conflict.
Saving Private Ryan, released in 1998, earned $216.7 million domestically. Taking inflation into account, that would equal roughly $312 million in today's terms. But a record is a record, and the history-making Sniper will cross $216 million sometime this week for Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow.
Films addressing recent conflicts have had a decidedly mixed track record, but American Sniper is benefiting from a massive turnout in America's heartland, as well as from its six Oscar nominations, including best picture and best actor for Bradley Cooper's performance as the late Chris Kyle, a Navy SEAL who fought in the second Iraq war.
In celebrating Sniper's $200 million milestone, Warners domestic distribution chief Dan Fellman said that Eastwood "created a gripping drama with a rare insight into the toll of war that has resonated with audiences in almost every demographic."
America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards. - Claire Wolfe