Monday Morning Quarterback Part II
By Kim Hollis
May 18, 2010
Herefore I art!Kim Hollis: Letters to Juliet opened to $13.5 million in 2,968 locations. What should Summit Entertainment take from this result, and are you surprised the film didn't perform a bit more "Sparksian"?
Josh Spiegel: First of all, I wasn't getting a Nicholas Sparks vibe from the trailers; this movie looks too happy to kill off one of the romantic leads in a purportedly tragic way by the end of the final reel. Frankly, compared with Remember Me, this is a pretty solid bit of counterprogramming, though I wonder if it would've done better opening on Mother's Day weekend. Still, Summit should be relatively pleased as they count down the days until the new Twilight movie opens.
Matthew Huntley: Summit should be pleased, but not overjoyed, with this result. Letters reportedly only cost $30 million to produce, and if it makes up nearly half of that budget during its opening weekend, it's safe to say it could cover itself by the end of the month. I think this is exactly what the still-young studio was expecting.
I'm not surprised it didn't open with more "Sparksian" numbers simply because the trailer didn't make it look like such a movie, which tend to be sad, slow and melodramatic. Letters seemed more on the bright (and safe) side of things - completely predictable, with warm photography and and lush locations. With this in mind, it seems perfectly acceptable that it opens more along the lines of Under the Tuscan Sun than Dear John.
Michael Lynderey: I'm not really that surprised that Letters to Juliet didn't open bigger. Dear John itself was, and still is, kind of an anomaly, and most of the potential reasons that one had to break out aren't around this time. That said, I think $13 million is a pretty good score for a leading actress who's really just starting out, and who'll have a lot more chances to prove herself very soon. Letters to Juliet certainly doesn't do any harm to Seyfried, especially if it has some legs - which I suspect it will.
Jason Lee: I am not surprised that this didn't open bigger. For me, every non-Twilight Summit Entertainment release performs just like every other non-Twilight Summit Entertainment Release: in mediocre fashion (see Remember Me, Furry Vengeance and The Ghost Writer this year, for example). Granted, Juliet will out-gross all three of those, but I hold firm to my conviction that until they prove to me that they can break out with a film that doesn't include vampires (or aliens, seeing as how Push somehow ended up with an $80 million gross), I'm always going to err on the lower side of Summit, rather than overestimate one of their films.
Reagen Sulewski: Even though this is about 50% lower than I predicted, I don't really call this a shocking result. It's about in line with other generic teen/young adult romances, but there did always seem like the chance for a breakout, which is why I went higher. Maybe in the hands of a more competent distributor (the comments about Summit are well taken), that breakout would have been more likely, but for the kind of film it is and its budget, this is a solid double to the gap.