How classic can you get? It turns out Clint Eastwood's "American Sniper" with Bradley Cooper will get a limited bow on Christmas Day before going wide on January 16. That puts it smack dab in the middle of the upcoming Oscar season, and gives Universal a little bit of competition on being last pony out of the gate with "Unbroken."
It's kind of interesting watching everyone make their moves this season. There seems to be a divide between all the films hitting the early festivals, then a bit of a gap (save for wide launches like "Fury" and "Interstellar"), then a bunch of films content with landing very late in the game. When "American Hustle" and "The Wolf of Wall Street" garnered a lot of awards steam last year after dropping at the last moment (screening in late-November), it changed a lot of thinking…for the time being, that is. This pendulum tends to swing back and forth a lot.
The move will also give Warner Bros. something else to work with this season, as there might be some question as to how much of an Oscar play Paul Thomas Anderson's "Inherent Vice" will be at the end of the day. It's all sort of interesting, too, as exactly 10 years ago a WB/Eastwood player, "Million Dollar Baby," was hustled into the race at the last minute and took it by storm, as the whole town seemed to be desperate for an alternative to Martin Scorsese's "The Aviator" (silly wabbits).
Eastwood's "Jersey Boys" was released by Warners in June, but went nowhere with critics and seemed more or less D.O.A.
"American Sniper" is an adaptation of Chris Kyle's memoir, "American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History." Principal photography began at the end of March, but in classic economical Eastwood fashion, it appears to have moved swimmingly and is ready to go. Sienna Miller, Luke Grimes, Kyle Gallner, Sam Jaeger, Jake McDorman and Cory Hardrict also star.