How ‘American Sniper’ Became Biggest January Opening In History

Patricia Didelot - Author

Jan. 19 2015, Updated 11:26 a.m. ET

It is hard to say who had the idea to make American Sniper into the box office success story it is today, but Jason Hall’s friendship with Chris Kyle is one of the main reasons.

One of the big issues facing producers was the fact that the main character — on whom the movie is based — was tragically killed in 2013, and they had to figure out whether to go ahead with the project or end it. The American Sniper, Chris Kyle’s wife, Taya, only took a few days after his funeral to decide that her husband’s story needed to be told.

The film — ultimately directed by Clint Eastwood — was originally set to be helmed by Steven Spielberg, however, his vision was too expensive for the relatively modest $60 million budget the studio had for American Sniper.

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When script writer Jason Hall first met Chris Kyle in 2010, he was far from believing his vision would ever come to be, but in the end, it became a tribute from one friend to another. In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Hall recalls his last text from Kyle.


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