Monday Morning Quarterback Part II

By BOP Staff

April 21, 2009

This goes out to Chris Hyde, who really hates this guy right now.

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Everyone loves political thrillers! (Seriously, though. We love this one.

Kim Hollis: State of Play, the political thriller from Universal, earned $14.1 million this weekend. Where does this one fall on the good/bad/indifferent scale?

Josh Spiegel: I say indifferent. We saw from the performance of Duplicity, another Universal release that's targeted squarely at adults and stars two leads who either were or were almost stars at one point in the past decade, that $14 million is a pretty in-the-middle number. The high praise from critics may help this one have some legs or, like Duplicity, they may not help at all. Considering that the movie discusses the newspaper business being in trouble, new media, politicians mired in scandals, and the like, people may not have wanted a movie that talks about such familiar, real-world topics. Still, for a movie like this, its result isn't too bad.

Brandon Scott: I think the audience's reaction was certainly indifferent in hitting only $14 million, so I would call it a bit of a disappointment for them. Crowe's star wattage has faded in recent years and Affleck has been out of the mix as an actor for the most part over the last few years as well, so he didn't ring up many hits at the turnstiles either. Throw in McAdams and I think they thought there were three reasonably well known names to anchor a film and bring in people and it didn't really happen. I would say it is more disappointing than pleasing, if nothing else. I think the Duplicity setup Joel mentioned is appropriate in a sense, and I think the opening weekend here is just kind of a blah number. Too bad, in my mind.


Tim Briody: Political based films are always tough sells, especially in the big opening department. As I said in the Friday update, I think its best chance is for some legs over the next couple of weeks. I know a couple of you folks absolutely loved it so I'm sure the possibility is there for it to hold well.

Reagen Sulewski: Part of the problem with selling these films is that you can almost never sum up what they're about quickly. That means you're pitching them almost exclusively to fans of the genre, which has been a declining number of people in recent years. This actually gives me a little hope that a film with a couple of actors often thought of as box office poison can pull these modest numbers, and it's actually pretty well positioned for the legs Tim talks about.

David Mumpower: I'm one of the people Tim mentioned as absolutely loving the film. I think it's got a decent shot to wind up being the best film of 2009. There were only three films I saw in 2008 that I liked as much as this one. Having said that, it's an extraordinarily difficult box office seller due to the subject matter, as has been mentioned here. It's a taut political drama with a terrifying underlying premise. The Paul Blart crowd is never going to buy in here. Beating Duplicity's $39 million is probably a worthy goal here, but for the people reading BOP who expect more from their films than funny fat guys falling down a lot, let me say this definitively. State of Play is worth your money.

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