Ready for the Academy Awards this Sunday? Need help winning your Oscar pool? ScreenCrush Editor-in-Chief Mike Sampson and Managing Editor Matt Singer are here to help. Or potentially make things worse. Honestly, they’re not great at guessing the winners. But they’re going to try their best.
In most years, January tends to be the most boring month of the year for the box office. This is where Hollywood typically sends the movies in which it has the least faith. This is the dumping ground, the place where movies go to die so the studios can concentrate on their Oscar campaigns. However, thanks to ‘American Sniper,’ this January has bucked every trend. It may technically be a 2014 release, but Clint Eastwood’s war film has made the first chunk of 2015 interesting, shattering expectations and threatening to become the highest grossing film of last year in only a few weeks.
Last week, ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1’ squeaked past ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ to become the highest grossing film released in 2014. Now, it’s starting to look thing ‘American Sniper’ may clobber them both. With a massive second weekend in wide release, the Clint Eastwood war film looks practically unstoppable at this point. With little to no major competition for the next few weeks, it should easily crack $300 million.
‘American Sniper’ had a record-shattering weekend at the box office, grossing an astounding $105 million from Friday to Monday. It’s already the second biggest earner of Clint Eastwood’s entire career after ‘Gran Torino,’ and with six Academy Award nominations (and great word-of-mouth) behind it, it’s posed to become his biggest hit ever.
A lot of people are going to act like they didn’t see the enormous success of ‘American Sniper’ coming, but the signs were all there. On top of the promising limited release numbers, there was the awards buzz. On top of that, there were the names of director Clint Eastwood and star Bradley Cooper. On top of that, the subject matter of the film is inherently attractive to the same category of moviegoer that makes Christian-themed films into massive hits. ‘American Sniper’ had one doozy of a weekend, but it’s not that surprising.
I wonder if Chris Kyle was a Clint Eastwood fan. ‘American Sniper’’s marketing materials describe Kyle as “the most lethal sniper in U.S. history,” but before his military career, Kyle was a cowboy. He wore a hat and boots, and even carried a six-shooter. Eventually, he gave up the cowboy life and decided to serve his country. He was a gifted marksman and trained to be a Navy SEAL. But even as a soldier, Kyle never lost that cowboy swagger—or that sense that someone has to venture out into the frontier and protect the American way of life. That’s what Kyle learned from his father—who raised him to be a “sheepdog,” a watchful protector in a world of sheep and wolves—and from watching violent Westerns like the ones that made Eastwood a major Hollywood star.
Like many of us, 'Tonight Show' host Jimmy Fallon appears to believe that Hollywood superstar Bradley Cooper can do anything -- and, based on his impressive resume of stage and screen roles and accolades, the guy can't be too off the mark. But there is one that Cooper isn't so great at: music. It's sort of surprising, really, and even the overly solicitous Fallon was a little dumbstruck when Cooper admitted that his musical talents are minimal on last night's show.
Just yesterday we saw the first images from Clint Eastwood's 'American Sniper,' revealing Bradley Cooper as Navy SEAL and prominent sniper Chris Kyle, and right on the heels of our first look comes the first official trailer for the action drama. From the looks of it, it seems like Cooper will definitely be picking up some nominations come awards season.
Trailers are a huge part of the fabric of movies. They play before every film shown in theaters, and on every movie website around the world. They’re commercials, obviously, but they’re also more than that; miniature works of art that utilize the core elements of cinema—image, sound, music, action, editing—at their most pure and refined. And today at ScreenCrush we’re celebrating movie trailers by saluting the best sneak previews of 2014.
In cinematic circles, there are a few names for this time of year. Awards-minded individuals call the fall “Oscar season” because this is when the campaigning for little gold men gets particularly hot and heavy. The late film critic Roger Ebert used to call it “good movie season,” because the byproduct of all that campaigning was all of the studios’ most promising and intellectually stimulating titles getting released together in the span of two months. In recent years, I’ve started to call the fall by a different name: Biopic season, because barely a week goes by without a new biographical film.