Monday Morning Quarterback Part I
By BOP Staff
April 26, 2010
Needs more Butler! Or McConaughey! Or…Kim Hollis: The Back-Up Plan opened to $12.2 million. Why do you think it struggled to find an audience?
Josh Spiegel: This movie just looked like it wasn't trying. The ads were pervasive, but every ad made The Back-Up Plan look like every other romantic comedy that's been released in the past 20 years. And, from the negative reviews, that's what this movie was. Jennifer Lopez making a comeback didn't work as a story for the movie, because did anyone really need to have a comeback from J-Lo? I'm not that surprised at this result, all things considered.
Michael Lynderey: To my mind, this is a pretty good number, and frankly more than I was expecting. The Back-Up Plan is arriving - perhaps appropriately, given the title - as the last in a long tour of spring romantic comedies, most of which have fallen on the not-so-good side of the critical aisle (that's a club this film is also a member of). Add in the tidbits that Jennifer Lopez hasn't anchored a major film in five years, that Date Night is still a popular choice for this very demographic, as well as the generally uninspired air of the trailer, and I think $12 million is pretty much a best case scenario, if not a little beyond that.
This movie really needed Gerard Butler, is what I think I'm trying to say.
Matthew Huntley: I first saw a trailer for this movie back in December and in the four months since, it still hadn't convinced me it was anything but a generic rom-com ridden with the same old cliches. For instance, how many times is Hollywood going to pass off painful childbirth scenes as humor? Does anyone else think these were never funny to begin with?
Aside from its bland premise and title, the movie's failure can also be attributed to its lack of a well-known lead actor. Alex O'Loughlin is hardly a household name and he doesn't stand out much. Had the studio been able to convince a bigger star - say, Matthew McConaughey - to fill the role of "standard hunk guy," they probably could have assured themselves a bigger opening. With McConaughey, the studio could have also milked it as the first time he and J-Lo were on-screen together since The Wedding Planner. Not that that's a strong selling point.
Tim Briody: So Michael suggests Gerard Butler and Matthew suggests Matthew McConaughey. Are we implying that it's the male lead that makes romantic comedies hits?
Also, this movie was trying to jump the gun on The Switch and failed. That looks way better, by the way.
Michael Lynderey: I think it's the combination of leads that makes the movie a hit (in some cases, of course). Gerard Butler co-starring with Betty Nobody in The Back-Up Plan wouldn't have done much better, but when you run a Butler-Lopez ticket (or a McConaughey-Lopez one), it's a whole different story. The real top romantic comedy stars can open a movie like this very well even without a name running mate, but that field is pretty limited - maybe Katherine Heigl and Sandra Bullock, but even then it depends on other factors.
P.S. - I don't really see The Switch outperforming this film in any significant way.