The Hollywood blockbuster film American Sniper failed to gain traction overseas, specifically in Iraq where the film brought in $37.50 on 176 screens. It broke $100 million during its North American release weekend and is up for several Oscar awards.
“The glorification of the invaders sniping our people was not going to go over well,” Iraqi Film Minister Ahad al-Obama told Variety. “I was surprised it was released here to begin with. I don’t know what the distributors were thinking.”
Zero Dark Thirty also failed to make $100 during its three-week run in 2012, making it the biggest bomb in Iraqi history. American Sniper is poised to break that record.
American war movies have a poor track record in the Middle East while fantasy has performed well in the box office. The Hobbit brought in $13.7 million in its 10th week in the box office, making it the top film in Iraq’s history. It domestically brought in $3.5 million over MLK weekend in the United States.
In a close second place was Taken 3. “The Iraqis love Liam Neeson and will see anything he makes. The previous two Taken films did very well in Iraq and even won several awards. So keep that franchise coming, Hollywood,” Ahad said.
Inherent Vice is set to open in Iraq next weekend and is anticipated to do well.
“Paul Thomas Anderson films always do well here. We love his style and translates well to the Iraqis,” Ahad noted. “With the country in turmoil and years and years of war, it’s nice to get away and free your mind at the theater for a few hours.”