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American Sniper has become the highest-grossing film release of 2014 in the US after beating The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1.

Directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Bradley Cooper as Navy Seal Chris Kyle, American Sniper has taken $337.2 million since its limited release in December 2014.

The latest movie in The Hunger Games franchise has taken $336.8 million.

Set during the Iraq war, American Sniper is Clint Eastwood’s most successful film to date.American Sniper becomes highest-grossing film release of 2014 in US

American Sniper had a limited release in US cinemas on December 25, to make it eligible for this year’s Oscars. A wider release followed in January.

According to Variety, it is the first time since 1998’s Saving Private Ryan that a “realistic”, R-rated drama has secured the largest box office takings of the year in the US.

American Sniper was nominated for six Oscars, including best picture and best actor for Bradley Cooper, but only won in the sound editing category.

Despite its popularity with US cinemagoers, American Sniper attracted criticism for both its depiction of the Iraq war and of sniper Chris Kyle, upon whose book the film is based.

Globally, Transformers: Age of Extinction is still the biggest film of 2014 having taking $1.1 billion in foreign markets, compared to American Sniper‘s $140 million.

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American Sniper has remained on the top of the US box office for a second week with takings of $64.4 million, according to studio estimates.

Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper is up for six Oscars including best film and best actor for Bradley Cooper.

Recounting the story of real life Navy Seal Chris Kyle, it has now made a total of $200.1 million.

The movie has also dominated headlines. In the past few days American Sniper has been blamed for an increase in threats against Muslims in the US, according to an Arab-American civil rights group.American Sniper tops US box office

While American Sniper is breaking records at the top of the US box office, at the other end of the scale Johnny Depp’s comedy heist film Mortdecai debuted in ninth place, taking only $4.1 million in ticket sales.

It is Johnny Depp’s third consecutive box office flop in a leading role, after 2014’s Transcendence and 2013’s The Lone Ranger.

Jennifer Lopez fared better, taking second place in this week’s chart with the Boy Next Door, in which she stars as a teacher who has an affair with a younger man.

Family movie Paddington stayed steady in third place in its second week of release, taking $12.4 million.

Top 5 US and Canada box office:

  1. American Sniper – $64.4 million
  2. The Boy Next Door – $15 million
  3. Paddington – $12.4 million
  4. The Wedding Ringer – $11.6 million
  5. Taken 3 – $7.6 million

Source: Rentrak

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American Sniper release has led to an increase in threats against Muslims in the US, according to an Arab-American civil rights group.

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) has written to director Clint Eastwood and star Bradley Cooper.

Clint Eastwood’s movie is based on US soldier Chris Kyle’s service in Iraq from 2003 to 2009.

The ADC said a “majority of the violent threats we have seen over the past few days are result of how Arab and Muslims are depicted in American Sniper”.

The organization, which describes itself as the largest Arab civil rights organization in the US, said it had collected “hundreds of violent messages targeting Arab and Muslim Americans from movie-goers”, mainly from Facebook and Twitter.

The ADC letter asked Clint Eastwood and Bradley Cooper to speak out against such messages “in an effort to reduce the hateful rhetoric”.American Sniper Bradley Cooper

“Your visibility, influence, and connection to the film would be a tremendous force in drawing attention to and lessening the serious dangers facing the respective communities,” ADC president Samer Khalaf wrote.

Jack Horner, a spokesman for the Warner Bros film studio, which released American Sniper, told the Reuters that the company “denounces any violent, anti-Muslim rhetoric, including that which has been attributed to viewers” of the film.

He added: “Hate and bigotry have no place in the important dialogue that this picture has generated about the veteran experience.”

Spokespeople for Clint Eastwood and Bradley Cooper had no immediate response to requests for comment, Reuters reported.

American Sniper has been a major hit in North America, exceeding box office predictions by taking $90 million in its opening weekend – a record for a January release. It also has six Oscar nominations.

The movie has also caused controversy. Some have hailed its portrayal of Chris Kyle as a war hero, but others have criticized it for glorifying violence and for Kyle’s attitude towards his victims.

Chris Kyle, a Navy Seal, served four tours of duty in Iraq and killed more than 160 people, making him the most deadly sniper in American history.

American Sniper movie is based on Chris Kyle’s book, also titled American Sniper, in which he claimed to have no regrets and referred to those he killed as “savages”.

Chris Kyle was killed in February 2013 on a firing range in his home state of Texas.

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American Sniper has topped the North American box office with takings of $90 million.

The movie set a record for a January opening following its six Oscar nominations last week.

American Sniper, directed by Clint Eastwood, is up for best picture and best actor for star Bradley Cooper, who plays real life Navy Seal Chris Kyle.

Action comedy The Wedding Ringer opened in second place with $21 million.

British family film Paddington came third with $19.3 million.American Sniper US box office

American Sniper jumped from 21st place at last weekend’s US box office, after a limited release in just a few screens.

It is now Clint Eastwood’s most successful film as director, beating Gran Torino’s 2008 opening of $29.5 million, and performed twice as well as studio estimates according to Reuters.

The Wedding Ringer, which stars Kevin Hart as a best man for hire, achieved its successful opening weekend despite being panned by critics.

Last week’s number one, Liam Neeson’s action sequel Taken 3, fell to fourth place.

US cinemas were especially busy during the three-day Martin Luther King Day holiday weekend.

Martin Luther King drama Selma, which was nominated for two Oscars including best picture, was in fifth place.

The Imitation Game – which landed eight Oscar nominations – also made the top 10, along with Disney musical Into the Woods, the final Hobbit film and Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken.

New cyber-terrorism film Blackhat was in 10th place.

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Clint Eastwood is dating hostess Christina Sandera, Us Weekly reported.

Clint Eastwood, 84, and Christina Sandera were last photographed together shopping at an LA Whole Foods on June 1.

Clint Eastwood is dating hostess Christina Sandera

Clint Eastwood is dating hostess Christina Sandera

Christina Sandera works at Eastwood’s Mission Ranch Hotel in Carmel, California.

This is Clint Eastwood’s second relationship since splitting with TV news anchor wife Dina Eastwood. Last year, Dina Eastwood filed for divorce after 17 years of marriage, citing “irreconcilable differences”.

Post-breakup, Clint and Dina Eastwood were involved in a shocking exes swap. He romanced photographer Erica Tomlinson-Fisher soon after as Dina, 48, began to date Tomlinson-Fisher’s ex–husband, University of Hawaii basketball coach Scott Fisher.

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Clint Eastwood has been credited with saving the life of a golf tournament director in California who was choking on a piece of cheese.

“Clint saved my life,” said Steve John, director of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am golf tournament.

Clint Eastwood reportedly saw that Steve John was in difficulty and performed the Heimlich manoeuvre on him.

The technique requires a rescuer to carry out abdominal thrusts on a choke victim to dislodge the blockage.

Clint Eastwood has been credited with saving the life of golf tournament director Steve John who was choking on a piece of cheese

Clint Eastwood has been credited with saving the life of golf tournament director Steve John who was choking on a piece of cheese

“Suddenly, I couldn’t breathe. It was as bad as it could have been,” Steve John said of the incident at a drinks reception in Carmel-by-the-Sea on Wednesday.

“Clint came up behind me, and he knew exactly what to do.”

Clint Eastwood told the Carmel Pine Cone that he noticed Steve John had “that look of panic people have when they see their life passing before their eyes”.

Clint Eastwood, 83, moved behind Steve John and carried out the manoeuvre.

“I gave him three good jolts, and that got it out,” he said.

“And then I made him drink a big glass of water with a bunch of lemon squeezed in it.”

Clint Eastwood said he had performed the manoeuvre before, but only “to practice”.

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According to new reports, Dina Eastwood filed divorce papers Monday in Monterey County Superior Court in Carmel, California, to end her 17-year marriage to Clint Eastwood.

Dina Eastwood cites “irreconcilable differences” and is seeking physical custody of their daughter, Morgan, 16, reports People magazine.

Dina Eastwood filed divorce papers Monday in Monterey County Superior Court in Carmel, California, to end her 17-year marriage to Clint Eastwood

Dina Eastwood filed divorce papers Monday in Monterey County Superior Court in Carmel, California, to end her 17-year marriage to Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood wife’s filing also states that she and the actor have a prenuptial agreement but that property rights are still “to be determined,” says E! News.

In a bit of spouse swapping, Clint Eastwood, 83, and Dina, 48, are now said to be dating former spouses Eric and Scott Fisher. Scott Fisher was a high school friend of Dina’s who went on to play in the Australian Basketball League and then a job as assistant coach at the University of Hawaii. Scott Fisher and Dina Eastwood re-connected as he was finalizing his divorce from Erica, his wife of 10 years, according to court papers.

Clint Eastwood was said to have reached out to Erica Fisher, and a romance blossomed.

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Dina Eastwood has filed for legal separation from the Hollywood legend after 17 years of marriage.

The petition filed by 48-year-old Dina Eastwood in Monterey County Superior Court on Monday, seeks spousal support and physical custody of the couple’s 16-year-old daughter Morgan.

The Monterey County Herald reports that the petition also indicates that Clint Eastwood’s second wife and the 83-year-old actor had a premarital agreement.

The Eastwoods have been married since 1996 and lived in Carmel, California, where Dina invited cameras into her home for the E! reality show Mrs. Eastwood & Company that debuted in 2012.

The show followed Dina Eastwood and her daughter Morgan and stepdaughter Francesca Fisher-Eastwood.

Dina Eastwood has filed for legal separation from the Hollywood legend after 17 years of marriage

Dina Eastwood has filed for legal separation from the Hollywood legend after 17 years of marriage

Francesca Fisher-Eastwood, 20, is Clint Eastwood’s daughter from his relationship with Titanic actress Frances Fisher.

Clint and Dina Eastwood’s split was announced in late August, but the couple reportedly separated in June 2012 and have not been photographed together since late 2011.

According to reports, tension grew between the pair when Dina Eastwood started filming Mrs. Eastwood & Company.

On the show, Dina Eastwood often complained about her life and even cried several times on camera.

Earlier this year, she checked into rehab for anxiety and depression.

The drama around their breakup took an odd turn last week when it was reported that Dina Eastwood had moved on with her old high school sweetheart, Scott Fisher.

The upshot was that Clint Eastwood reportedly has been spending time with Scott Fisher’s ex-wife Erica Tomlinson-Fisher.

Dina Eastwood said she saw recently published photos of Clint with Erica Tomlinson-Fisher and told US Weekly she was saddened by them.

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New reports claim that Clint Eastwood’s estimated $340 million fortune will remain intact if he divorces his estranged wife Dina Ruiz.

Dina Eastwood, 48, signed a pre-nuptial agreement that protects the wealth of the legendary Hollywood actor and director.

Without that, she would have been entitled to half of Clint Eastwood’s earnings during their 17-year marriage.

Clint Eastwood, who has appeared in dozens of films including Dirty Harry and A Fistful of Dollars, paid $23 million when he divorced first wife Maggie Johnson in 1984, and was twice sued by long-time lover, actress Sondra Locke, after they split in 1989.

Clint Eastwood's estimated $340 million fortune will remain intact if he divorces his estranged wife Dina Ruiz

Clint Eastwood’s estimated $340 million fortune will remain intact if he divorces his estranged wife Dina Ruiz

“Clint was determined not to lose a fortune to Dina, no matter how much he loved her,” an insider said last night.

“She’ll be looked after, but it won’t bring Clint to his knees.”

The news came after Clint Eastwood finally emerged for the first time since it was announced that he and his wife had split.

Looking tired and under strain, the 83-year-old director headed back on set to direct his new movie Jersey Boys on Thursday.

Meanwhile, The National Enquirer has reported that former TV news anchor Dina Ruiz has re-kindled a romance with Scott Fisher, 50, an old high school boyfriend of hers.

A source told the publication: “Dina is in love with Scott. It’s like high school all over again.”

Dina Eastwood confirmed the news of the split to Us Weekly on Thursday.

She told the publication that she and Clint Eastwood have been living apart for some time.

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Clint Eastwood has separated from his second wife Dina after 17 years of marriage.

Dina Eastwood, 48, a former TV news reporter, confirmed the split to Us Weekly on Thursday.

She revealed that she and the 83-year-old star have been living apart for some time.

Dina Eastwood also added that the pair remain “close”.

A source told the magazine that Dina and Clint Eastwood, who share a 16-year-old daughter Morgan, have in fact been living apart for over a year, initially splitting in June 2012.

They say that the couple’s decision to end their relationship was “amicable”.

“Clint fell out of love with Dina a long time ago,” the insider said.

Rumors that there was trouble in paradise between the pair emerged earlier this year in April when Clint Eastwood appeared at the TriBeCa Film Festival in New York City with his wedding ring noticeably absent.

Dina and Clint Eastwood had also not been photographed together since November 2011 and they were seen embroiled in what appeared to be an argument at his daughter Alison’s wedding in March.

Clint Eastwood has separated from his second wife Dina after 17 years of marriage

Clint Eastwood has separated from his second wife Dina after 17 years of marriage

Earlier this year, TMZ also reported that Dina Eastwood had checked herself into rehab for problems with “depression and anxiety”.

According to the website, Dina Eastwood was not being treated for substance abuse problems, but was seeking help for stress-related issues.

Last year Dina Eastwood, her daughter Morgan and stepdaughter Francesca Fisher-Eastwood starred in a reality TV show titled Mrs. Eastwood & Company.

Francesca Fisher-Eastwood, 20, is Clint Eastwood’s daughter from his relationship with Titanic actress Frances Fisher.

Dina Eastwood invited the cameras into the family’s California home to display her life with her two girls.

Clint Eastwood has been married two times and has seven children by five different women.

The other main loves in Clint Eastwood’s life have included model Maggie Johnson, who he was married to for 31 years, and actress Sondra Locke, who he lived with for 14 years.

The actor has voiced his not so positive views on marriage in the past.

Clint Eastwood married his first wife Maggie Johnson in 1953, only half a year after they met on a blind date. After a decade of marriage the couple had a trial separation but were not officially divorced until May 1984.

But during that time Clint Eastwood fell in love and lived for 14 years with actress Sondra Locke, whom he co-starred in numerous films with throughout the late 70s and 80s.

During his relationship with Sondra Locke, Clint Eastwood fathered two children with a flight attendant named Jacelyn Reeves, according to Independent.ie.

Then in 1990, Clint Eastwood struck up a romance with actress Frances Fisher, after meeting on the set of Pink Cadillac.

He later directed the actress in his film Unforgiven, but then separated in 1995.

Clint Eastwood met Dina Ruiz in 1993, and subsequently married her on March 31, 1996.

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Veteran film and TV director Ted Post, who worked with Clint Eastwood on Hang ‘Em High and Magnum Force, has died in Los Angeles at the age of 95.

Born in Brooklyn, New York in 1918, Ted Post first directed Clint Eastwood in 24 episodes of his 1960s western series Rawhide.

Clint Eastwood insisted Ted Post direct his 1968 western Hang ‘Em High but reportedly fell out with him on Magnum Force, the second film in the Dirty Harry series.

Ted Post’s other directing credits include 1970’s Beneath the Planet of the Apes.

He also worked on the 1980 pilot episode of long-running police series Cagney and Lacey, in which Loretta Swit played the Christine Cagney role subsequently taken on by Sharon Gless.

Ted Post would later blame Clint Eastwood for the decline of his career, accusing the actor of claiming to have had directed more of Magnum Force than he did.

Director Ted Post, who worked with Clint Eastwood on Hang 'Em High and Magnum Force, has died in Los Angeles at the age of 95

Director Ted Post, who worked with Clint Eastwood on Hang ‘Em High and Magnum Force, has died in Los Angeles at the age of 95

“I believe that Clint became afflicted with a touch of megalomania,” he told one interviewer.

“Clint’s greed and ego began to affect his sensitivity and judgment.”

In 1996, Ted Post formed Pro Bono Productions, a non-profit corporation intended to showcase the skills of older members of the Hollywood community.

Clint Eastwood publicly endorsed the initiative, along with Jack Lemmon, Karl Malden, Gregory Peck and others.

The director’s final film was 4 Faces, a low-budget title released in 1999.

Ted Post died at the UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica on Tuesday and is survived by his wife Thelma, two children and four grandchildren.

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Clint Eastwood has endorsed Republican Mitt Romney in the race for the White House.

Oscar-winning actor and director Clint Eastwood attended a Mitt Romney fundraiser in Sun Valley, Idaho, said to have raised over $2 million.

Clint Eastwood said he was endorsing the Republican because “the country needs a boost somewhere”.

In February Clint Eastwood starred in a Chrysler Superbowl advert, Halftime in America, sparking debate over whether he backed President Barack Obama.

Clint Eastwood has endorsed Republican Mitt Romney in the race for the White House

Clint Eastwood has endorsed Republican Mitt Romney in the race for the White House

At the time, Clint Eastwood had said he was not endorsing either candidate and, speaking to Fox News, said he was “certainly not politically affiliated with Mr. Obama”.

“It was meant to be a message about just about job growth and the spirit of America,” Clint Eastwood said in February of the Super Bowl advert.

“I think all politicians will agree with it. I thought the spirit was OK. I am not supporting any candidate at this time.”

On Friday Mitt Romney said of Clint Eastwood’s endorsement: “He just made my day. What a guy.”

After an introduction from Mitt Romney, Clint Eastwood spoke to about 325 guests gathered for the Idaho fundraiser.

Clint Eastwood said he first saw Mitt Romney when he was running for governor of Massachusetts, and Eastwood was directing the film Mystic River in Boston.

The actor said he thought: “God, this guy, he’s too handsome to be governor. But it does look like he could be president.”

Backing Mitt Romney, Clint Eastwood added that Romney would “restore a decent tax system… so there’s a fairness and people are not pitted against each other,” according to reports from Idaho.

Mitt Romney is challenging Barack Obama for the White House in November’s presidential elections.

Also on Friday figures showed that the US added 163,000 jobs in the month of July, but national unemployment rose to 8.3% from 8.2%.

Correspondents say the health of the US economy is likely to become a decisive factor in the outcome of the election.