Monday Morning Quarterback

By BOP Staff

January 24, 2011

Does anyone remember that I led a mediocre team to the NFC championship? Anyone?

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Important note: Do not let your cat eat string. It leads to unpleasantness.

Kim Hollis: No Strings Attached, the Ashton Kutcher/Natalie Portman romantic comedy from Paramount, opened to $19.7 million. What do you think of this result?

Josh Spiegel: It's a solid result for a January release, certainly. I'm not sure there's much more to say about No Strings Attached (and the quality of the film is certainly nowhere near as solid as its financial results), but the movie could have done worse. I wonder how much of the film's success can be attributed to Natalie Portman, who's going to be just about everywhere this year (she's still got three movies that will have a wide release of some kind to come). Either way, good for Paramount and good for Ivan Reitman.

Matthew Huntley: Until Josh said something, I had no idea Ivan Reitman directed this movie. Yes, good for him, because he hasn't had a hit in a long time. Not that No Strings Attached will be a box-office powerhouse, but it still means something that your movie opens at number one. In this case, a $20 million opening almost guarantees profitability since the movie only cost $25 million to produce. In the end, it will be considered a mid-level hit, but as Josh said, there's not much else to say about it. I think we're all still waiting for the first surprise hit of 2011. Granted we're only three weeks in, but still.


Bruce Hall: I think that since this film now looks like it will be profitable, it is going to be another feather in Natalie Portman's cap, and more fodder for those who already dislike Ashton Kutcher. Beyond that, it isn't anything anybody is likely to be talking about in two weeks.

Edwin Davies: It's a tad higher than I thought it was going to make, given that there didn't seem to be that much of an original hook to the film (heck, Seinfeld did this same idea back in 1991) and the ads and trailers were only sort of funny, which is hardly the most promising basis for a successful comedy. This result is probably due to a mixture of the press surrounding Natalie Portman's other film and a lack of other options.

Max Braden: That's the same as Kutcher's last romantic comedy, What Happens In Vegas, three years ago and which performed pretty well both domestically and internationally. It's also his third $20 million opening weekend, which has been his peak. So back to back, we've had two long-standing happy-hour topics of conversation in theaters: "friends with benefits," and "how do I tell my best friend his wife's a slut." Yet Vince Vaughn, who's had a number of mid to high $30 million openers, underperformed Kutcher and Portman. That makes Kutcher and Portman look good, but since some of that opening number belongs to Portman's recent buzz, I'd call it average for Kutcher and average for a romantic comedy. If it falls off after this weekend I don't think it hurts anything, and if it happens to run well then it just benefits Kutcher and Portman.

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