“American Sniper,” the $60 million budget feature, so effective reaching all sides of
the war opinionists (pro, anti, veterans and civilians), started in four locations (N.Y., L.A. and Texas where Chris Kyle is so popular) and in its opening
weekend made $677,000 over Christmas weekend, averaging $75,000 per theater. It earned $107.2 million when it expanded nationwide over Martin Luther King,
Jr. weekend and has now
grossed $ $242.2 million, or 24 percent, of the total $1 billion grossed in January a mark hit for the first time since 2010! Even with a steep third
weekend drop, “Sniper” remains on track to wind up over $330 million, which will rank second all-time among R-rated movies behind “The Passion of the Christ” ($370.8 million). (Thank you Ray Stubers of Box Office Mojo for this financial summary.)
One interesting article about “American Sniper” appears in Variety by guest writer, Paul Rieckhoff, and
I am glad he mentions “Fort Bliss” a war story sleeper directed by Claudia Myers
which never broke out but was, as he says, “masterful.” Now Haifaa Al Mansour
(“Wadjda“) is making “Be Safe I Love You“, another film about a young woman soldier who returns home to the U.S. after a tour in the Middle East and must
grapple with PTSD and the past she left behind.
Haifaa’s previous film “Wadjda,” the first Saudi Arabian feature film and of course the first ever by a woman in Saudi Arabia was released in U.S. by Sony
Pictures Classics and sold widely by The Match Factory. It opened September 2013 to critical acclaim and was the staple of the awards season. The National
Board of Review awarded the film with the Freedom of Expression Award. It was nominated for a BAFTA for Best Non-English Language Film and was Saudi
Arabia’s submission for Best Foreign Language Film for the Academy Awards.
Al Mansour received her Bachelor’s Degree in Literature at the American University in Cairo and completed her Master’s Degree in Directing and Film Studies
from the University of Sydney.
She lives with her American husband in Bahrain where living among the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet headquarters in Bahrain “has given me a unique perspective on
these young men an women we have designated warriors. Tough, simple, and full of life, they were suddenly real these humans who have been turned into
machines to kill. I always wonder about the families they left behind. The female soldiers, whose images rarely make the news and whose stories have never
sufficiently been told, especially fascinate me.”
“I have seen first hand the affects of war on the fresh faced, child-like soldiers that come from the U.S. to serve in the Middle East. The ancient hatreds
and tribal wars of our region seem capable of swallowing them whole, of tearing apart the beliefs and narratives that hold their world together.”
This film, “Be Safe I Love You” is a thriller, with a tempo and urgency that we can only follow or comprehend through Lauren’s eyes as this young soldier’s
two worlds – a world at war and a world of peace — collide in her memory.
“Be Safe I Love You” is being produced by Anonymous Content. Haifaa Al Mansour is
being managed and mentored by the remarkable producer – manager, Rosalie Swedlin and
is represented by UTA’s Rena Ronson, another outstanding figure in our independent
She is also the winner of this year’s Sundance Institute’s Global Filmmaking Award. And still she believes in trusting her gut instinct and being humble enough to criticize herself. We wish her the greatest
success as her career takes off.