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Monday Movie Memo: 4 Big Reasons American Sniper Was A Hit

Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper shocked the industry over the weekend, powering its way to a staggering $90.2 million tally and easily taking the top slot at the box office. The number more than doubled the figure posted by the previous leader for a January opening -- $41 million for Kevin Hart and Ice Cube’s Ride Along. It’s a huge win for Warner Bros., which is mounting a growing Oscar campaign for Eastwood, Cooper and the movie. But why did American Sniper perform so well? We talk about it in today’s Monday Movie Memo.

American Sniper found its way into the Oscar race last week, nabbing an impressive six nominations including Best Picture, Best Actor (for Bradley Cooper) and Best Adapted Screenplay. It was mildly surprising that Clint Eastwood didn’t also climb into the Best Director category, as the Academy tends to adore Eastwood and his war-time dramas. This year, though, we had a bumper crop of strong directorial efforts, and a number of qualified candidates – from Ava DuVernay and Angelina Jolie to Damien Chazelle (of Whiplash fame) were left out of the category.

Clint Eastwood

We have been tracking American Sniper for weeks now, and expect this to be a major story moving forward – particularly as the Oscar marathon shifts into Phase Two. But to read more about American Sniper, be sure to brush up on:

- Our review of Clint Eastwood’s drama.

- Our 60-second video breakdown of the film.

- The preparation Bradley Cooper went through, physically, to play Chris Kyle.

- And finally, the insight real Navy SEALs provided to Eastwood as he prepared to shoot American Sniper.

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.