Monday Morning Quarterback Part I
By BOP Staff
August 16, 2010
Matthew Huntley: I agree with Josh in that I'm surprised the numbers aren't bigger. I would have predicted an opening in the high 20s or lower 30s for the followings reasons: 1) It's Julia Roberts' first solo project in practically 10 years and it's the kind of role that made her famous and bankable; I figured fans would jump at the chance to see her reclaim her title as box office queen; 2) The demographic for this movie - adult women - has been grossly under-served this summer and I would have thought they'd rush out to see something that was specifically geared toward them (since Sex and the City 2 was such a letdown); 3) The popular source material, which I've seen many women reading the past few months.
Still, movies like this, despite the poor reviews, tend to show strong legs and there's no reason to think Eat Pray Love will be any different. I would say an $80 million finish is in the cards, unless The Switch happens to steal away a bunch of women next weekend. Sony should be pleased with this result, but not ecstatic, as the movie did cost $60 million + to make.
Reagen Sulewski: That Oprah connection is a blessing and a curse - every woman in North America knew about this book and this film, but no man was going to step within 20 feet of a theater showing it. Still, this was something of a can't miss project - Julia returning to the kind of film that audiences love her in, and a subject matter that lends itself well to the big screen. It's tough to get a baseline on Julia now - she doesn't do this kind of film much if at all anymore - but it's pretty much smack where you'd expect a romantic comedy/travelogue with an A-list star to land.
Jim Van Nest: A lot has happened in the 10 years since Julia was in her comfort zone. Most important: people realized that the genre can exist without her. Plug in Bullock, Witherspoon, McAdams, Aniston, Diaz or even Drew Barrymore and the production does not lose much by not having Julia Roberts. I'd argue that some of her films of the past were way OVER-attended based on her name and this result is the kind of result she should have been having all along. Also...I'm with Reagen...I can be talked into the rom-com, but when Oprah's name is on it, it's a sign of way to much cheese for me.
Max Braden: At first I was going to comment against Jim's list of younger actresses because I thought of the movie as a Diane Lane/Tuscan Sun-type movie ($9.75 million in Sep. 2003). Or maybe even Meryl Streep/It's Complicated ($22.1 million Christmas weekend last year). But after a thought I could imagine Amy Adams in the role. But I don't see any alternate actress bringing in as much box office for this movie as Julia Roberts did, and that's without male audiences who that would have been more like to have seen her earlier romantic comedies on dates.
David Mumpower: In addition to some of the other comments made about the lackluster quality of the film, I would add that it reminds me of another Julia Roberts girl-power celebration that disappointed, Mona Lisa Smile. That film had a smaller opening due to its being a December release, but it wound up earning $63.8 million, which seems to be the range for Roberts' non-blockbusters. The Mexican wound up with $66.8 million, (my beloved) Charlie Wilson's War finished at $66.7 million and that's the range we're looking at for Eat Pray Love. This is the box office she gets when her fans are less emphatic about her projects. To her credit, these are numbers that most lead actresses covet but will never earn.