Breaking the Hollywood anti-war boycott of the Iraq War.
And why would they?
The Iraq War already had an official narrative in Hollywood. It was bad and wrong. Its veterans were crippled, dysfunctional and dangerous. Before American Sniper, Warner Brothers had gone with anti-war flicks like Body of Lies and In the Valley of Elah. It had lost a fortune on Body of Lies; but losing money had never stopped Hollywood from making anti-war movies that no one wanted to watch.
Even the Hurt Locker had opened with a quote from leftist terrorist supporter Chris Hedges.
An Iraq War movie was supposed to be an anti-war movie. There was no other way to tell the story. Spielberg’s own interest in American Sniper was focused on “humanizing” the other side. When he left and Clint Eastwood, coming off a series of failed films, took the helm, it was assumed that American Sniper would briefly show up in theaters and then go off to die quietly in what was left of the DVD aisle.
And then American Sniper broke box office records that had been set by blockbusters like Avatar, Passion and Hangover Part II by refusing to demonize American soldiers or to spin conspiracy tales about the war. Instead of pandering to coastal progressives, it aimed at the patriotic heartland.
In a sentence you no longer expected to hear from a Hollywood exec, the Warner Brothers distribution chief said, “This is about patriotism and all the things people say the country is lacking these days.”
The backlash to that patriotism and the things the country is lacking these days didn’t take very long to form and it goes a lot deeper than snide tweets from Michael Moore and Seth Rogen. Academy members were reportedly passing around an article from the New Republic, whose author had not actually seen the movie, but still denounced it for not showing Chris Kyle as a bigoted murderer.
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