Monday Morning Quarterback Part II
By BOP Staff
January 18, 2012
An alternate title: Bad Facelifts
Kim Hollis: Joyful Noise, the Queen Latifah/Dolly Parton gospel movie, opened to $11.2 million over the Friday-to-Sunday portion of the weekend. What do you think of this result?
Brett Beach: As a continuation of the trend that BOP noted for faith-based films in its Top Film Industry Stories of 2011, it is a solid opening. But with the pairing of the Queen and Dolly, I was expecting something closer to $20 million for the four-day MLK weekend. Neither is at the top of her popularity currently (and it has been 20 years since Parton's last lead) but it seemed like a dream project from my analysis. Still, director Todd Graff has more than doubled the combined final grosses of his two previous musically themed projects (Camp and Bandslam, both of which I would recommend) and has probably come close to recouping production costs already.
Bruce Hall: With a budget somewhere around $25 million, I suspect the Powers That Be were hoping their two leads would draw in a slightly larger crowd. I too was tempted to expect a bit more from this release, but I wonder if there wasn't a significant section of moviegoers who just weren't sure what to make of this? The trailer looks like Glee meets You got Served meets Tyler Perry's Tyler Perry's Big Loud Sassy Choir Movie. In fact, as long as you're going to try and disguise corny, emotionally manipulative treacle for inspirational allegory, why not just cast Tyler Perry? Then we'd be talking about a solid second or third place finish this weekend, instead of a ho-hum fourth.
Matthew Huntley: I was expecting the movie to open closer to $14 million, so the result is mixed at best. As Bruce alluded to, I think Joyful Noise meeting the lower end of expectations can be attributed to audiences being unsure of whether this was a tween movie, a family drama or a (much) softer version of Jungle Fever. Given the PG-13 rating, did parents of 10-12-year-old girls feel comfortable taking their kids to see it? Perhaps if the rating was PG, we would have seen better turnouts because we would know where it stands, but as it is, it's unclear. I think Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton are both past their prime at the box-office, but given they were the most popular cast members, there was no other way to sell it. But the question is, who were they selling it to? Who did New Line figure was the target audience here? I'm still not sure.
David Mumpower: When I first saw the trailer, my initial reaction was that it would do quite well, particularly over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. This has become a huge four-day period for box office and the (presumed) triumphant return of Dolly Parton alongside Queen Latifah struck me as a strong selling point. This one looked great on paper and after I'd watched the trailer. As such, I have to describe a $13.8 million four-day total as disappointing to me. Given the $25 million production budget, Joyful Noise appears likely to earn money unless it absolutely dies over the next ten days. Still, I feel like this was more commercial than it has proven to be. So either I'm dead wrong or there was a missed opportunity here.
Max Braden: Sorry, Hollywood, only Betty White can be Betty White.