American Sniper is the highest grossing movie released in 2014 after passing the $500 million mark worldwide and topping $337 million domestically. Clint Eastwood's Navy SEAL drama starring Bradley Cooper overtook The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1, according to U.S. and Canada box office data. 

American SniperBradley Cooper starred as Chris Kyle in American Sniper

The Jennifer Lawrence starrer pulled an estimated $336.9 million domestically to finish slightly ahead of Marvel's surprise hit Guardians of the Galaxy. 

American Sniper - made for just $58 million - was adapted from Chris Kyle's bestselling autobiography. The late veteran was known as the most lethal sniper in American military history. It scored six Oscars nominations and pulled in mainly positive reviews to settle on 72% on the review aggregating website Rotten Tomatoes.

More: Clint Eastwood persuaded to change gory American Sniper ending

"Who would expect a drama to have this kind of enormous success?" said Jeff Goldstein, executive vice president and general sales manager for Warner Bros. "It shows it doesn't matter when a movie comes out if it's extraordinary storytelling and hits the public in a very personal way."

"You don't have to be an American to identify with the patriotism of the story," Goldstein said. "Wherever you live and whatever your ideologies are, there are still pieces of the film you can identify with."

"The fact that we've had this remarkable success reaffirms that none of us know anything about our business," Goldstein said. "We always can get surprised and shocked. ... sometimes you can't just foresee it."

Bradley Cooper's next movie will be David O. Russell's Joy for 20th Century Fox. The movie stars Jennifer Lawrence as a struggling Long Island single mom who became one of the country's most successful entrepreneurs.

More: did you know Chris Kyle's killer is portrayed in American Sniper?