How 'American Sniper' Became Biggest January Opening In History

Patricia Didelot

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.

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.

"I had come to love the guy," says Hall, choking back as he recalls his last communication with Kyle the day before his murder. "I was ready to turn in the first draft of the script on February 1, so I texted him. He replied, 'Good luck. I hope you work again.' "

Apparently, Kyle had no illusions that his story would ever make it to the silver screen. The film depicts the story of the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history, credited with 160 confirmed kills. While still alive, Kyle said he was more concerned about how many lives he had saved.

American Sniper is not a political film as its star Bradley Cooper stated, but a look at what happens to a man when he does what Kyle did for a living, and how it affects his family life. The irony in the story is that the legendary SEAL was shot dead by a mentally ill Iraq War veteran he was trying to help, leaving behind a devoted, loving wife and two kids.

Many don't condone what the American Sniper represents, and the despite the box office success, the film is surrounded by controversy. However, the numbers speak for themselves, and the story of Chris Kyle is one the American public is embracing in larger numbers than anyone anticipated.

On its opening weekend, American Sniper shattered the box office with $90.2 million in three days as previously reported by the Inquisitr, more than double expectations. This makes the film about Chris Kyle the biggest January opening in history.

[Image via Warner Bros.]