Much has been written about both the great controversy & box office $ucce$$ of Am Sniper. Based on their inflated coverage and inflated $$, (T-1 corrects ALL movie $$ to 2014 $$) we shall see what the real stories are. Its inflated coverage is b/c the movie Am Sniper is too violent; it glorifies killing and is R rated! Furthermore our snipers are sanctified and their (foreign) snipers are satanized! To many, the topic is unacceptable, countercultural & perhaps even un-American. Its box office however is a gift that keeps gifting. Even with its historical competition receiving 2014 $$ it’s STILL the biggest Jan opening EVER, the 2nd biggest Wter (J, F & Mr) opening, EVER (Passion is #1) and the biggest opening for an R rated movie, EVER! Its inflated coverage appears to be deserved and inflated $$ of its historical competition has strengthened its relative $ucce$$.


Regardless of its shortcomings & perhaps b/c of its Internet buzz (about its politics & its extraordinary controversy) Am Sniper’s domestic box continues to amaze. Its director (Clint Eastwood) and its star (Bradley Cooper) are acclaimed for doing the impossible (presenting the carnage and courage of war successfully on the big screen). Its 3 box office records (Biggest Wtr Opening, Biggest Jan Opening & Biggest MLK Wknd Opening) AND its 6 Oscar noms (including Best Pic & Best Actor) are richly deserved. Mike Barnicle (Daily Beast) noted however, that the movie drew ZERO cheers & LESS approval from the wounded and limbless at Walter Reed Nat’l Med Ctr! Today, we are more concerned about how men are portrayed in a SB comm’l than the wounded and limbless that fight our wars. The SB and Am Sniper are entertainment events. War and its grim aftermath are our reality reminders.


Variety & (1/13/15) data-ed that Am Sniper spent about $44 M on TV ads. $30 M was spent during the 3 wks b-4 it opened (on 1/15). The next closest movie (in recent wks) for TV ad spending was Blackhat (which spent $7.4 M the wk b-4 Am Sniper opened). It’s TV spend of almost $20½ M (was less than ½ of what Am Sniper spent on US TV ntwks). Am Sniper was/is promoted on MTV & Ovation. (64% of MTV’s audience is 18-34 [] which is a very, very important demographic for any R-rated flick. Ovation [an Art Channel] has an audience b/t 18 & 49 [] who spend a lot of $$ on a lot of things). So was the $44 M TV ad money well $pent? For that answer let’s look at T-1 & the last sentence of par#1, above. Am Sniper’s best comparison is with the historical drama, The Passion of Christ. Both films are dramas, R-rated, received 3 out of 4 stars from USA2Day & WERE CONTROVERSIAL during their release. Though Am Sniper most likely won’t touch ever touch the foreign box of Passion ,The Passion’s domestic total for Wter (J, F & Mr) of $370 M is w/i AM Sniper’s reach. WUDDATHINK?

There are more records available for Am Sniper. It has domestically grossed $213 M (as of 1/30/2015). The Jan record for total box office is currently held by A Beautiful Mind (2002) with 170.7 M. All signs lead to Am Sniper doing those $$ by this wknd. As for the ALL-TIME Winter total domestic gross of $370.3 by The Passion (2004) NOT SO MUCH! It is out of sight. But, last yr’s mega, The Lego Movie at $257.8 M is w/i reasonable dollaring distance. As Jan becomes Feb, Am Sniper will easily do $300 M and beyond. WOW!

What about people records thx to Am Sniper? Eastwood already has his 2nd highest grossing film as a director & by far this is his biggest opening. For Cooper, Am Sniper ranks 7th on his box office list but should finish TOP 3 when it’s all said and done. An amazing display of $$ power for Eastwood & Cooper.

Finally & repeatedly what makes Am Sniper so impre$$ive is that its box office $$ stand strongly despite correcting every other Jan, Wter & R rated movie’s box office to 2014 $$. No matter the correction, $niper is STILL a runaway winner. W/O a 3rd wknd yet, it’s STILL the highest domestic grossing Jan film, EVER! In Table 1, we discovered that ONLY the inflated (corrected to 2014 $$ box office) Wntr opening of Passion surpasses it. When it comes to winter films’ TOT DOM BOXES, ONLY 4 films are ahead of Am Sniper. By this coming wknd ONLY the Passion will be ahead of it. On the R-rated movie front Am Sniper is trailing 5 films (with their box office corrected to 2014 $$). Once again however, Am Sniper will pass most of them leaving ONLY the Matrix & Passion ahead of it. Am Sniper has become an AMERICAN MOVIE LEGEND, AN AMERICAN ICON no matter its politics or controversy. AMEN! AMEN!


About bernacmd

For over 24 years, University of Detroit Mercy Marketing Professor Michael Bernacchi, Ph.D., J.D, has produced "uNDER tHE mIKE-rOSCOPE", a newsletter discussing current "marketing and advertising¹s bends, trends & ends." A well-know fixture in Detroit and national media, UDM's marketing guru has made several appearances on CNN's "Talk Back Live," the Voice of America worldwide radio network (VOA), ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC and on the pages of Sports Illustrated, Time, TV Guide, the New York Times, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, to name a few. At University of Detroit Mercy, he has taught courses in Marketing Management, Consumer Behavior, Marketing Communications, Research and Corporate Social Responsibility and Sports and Entertainment Marketing. Michael Bernacchi can be reached at 313-993-1116 or Please appropriately attribute the following for their work on uNDER tHE mIKE-rOSCOPE: Yen Ju Lee Robert Rouse Vidhyasagar Natarajan Eric Baumgardner & Ian Young
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