Monday Morning Quarterback Part II
By BOP Staff
February 1, 2012
Kim Hollis: Man on a Ledge, the first film where Sam Worthington was not a Terminator, a Titan or a giant blue guy, opened to $8.0 million. It also had $6 tickets available (on Living Social). Why do you think this project failed? Also, why do you think these cheap ticket deals were not particularly enticing?
Reagen Sulewski: Hey, hey! He was also completely miscast in The Debt this year, so don't forget that. But it's funny how blockbusters don't lead to consistent careers anymore. Thirty years ago, Harrison Ford turned the kind of run Worthington had into one of the best box office records ever. Now it's, "Hey, you know that guy who was in the biggest film ever? Yeah, I'll pass."
These high-concept films seem to be a favorite of Hollywood when they're not throwing out endless sequels - I think they must sound like a good idea and they're usually made relatively cheaply since the sets are limited, but you really need a guy in the lead who's made his name by people coming to see him, rather than him being coincidental to the film.
Matthew Huntley: Man on a Ledge screamed "Generic!" and seemed like a substandard combination of The Negotiator and The Inside Man, albeit with no interesting angle. The whole "man on a ledge who's threatening to jump" premise has been done before in action movies (Lethal Weapon) and comedies (The Other Guys), and while audiences might not be conscious of it, something in them probably said, "Been there; done that." Even with $6 tickets available, people are becoming more selective with their time.
Max Braden: Jeff Goldblum had a similar box office conundrum, though he wasn't the lead. And even Harrison Ford had The Mosquito Coast box office doldrums at the height of his career. The blockbuster has changed a bit since then, but I think the difference is that Ford was always memorable. Audiences could be looking at a photo of Worthington and not remember what movie they just saw him in. As for cheap tickets, I just found out that Johnny Rockets sells $6 AMC tickets with purchase of a burger and drink. I may be doing lunch & a movie every weekend from now on.
Tim Briody: I think the bubble has burst on the Groupon/Living Social type deals. I do remember hearing about the deal with last year's The Lincoln Lawyer, but the deals on One for the Money and Man on a Ledge are new to me. And even still, I don't think such offers are going to prop up a movie that's not going to do well anyway. At least Lincoln Lawyer benefited from Matthew McConaughey. Also, Sam Worthington should stick to Call of Duty commercials.
David Mumpower: Tim makes a good point in that the Call of Duty commercial seems like more fun than anything in Man on a Ledge. What I find interesting about this turn of events is that Worthington seems to be getting no bump from Avatar. Even though he starred in the biggest film of all time, he was blue for most of it. And his other big starring roles are in the forgettable yet somehow franchised Clash of the Titans and in Terminator: Salvation. He hasn't distinguished himself much yet he keeps getting parts in titles that border on being automatic successes. This was the first test of something new and different and while I loved the trailer, I found myself wondering how interesting it would be for an hour and a half. The Next Three Days, a movie we have frequently used for comparison, had similar problems and perhaps it is no coincidence that they have similar opening weekend failures. My final thought here is that if you break this down to a basic component, what about the title "Man on a Ledge" is interesting? It's marginally better than Dark Water but certainly not a strong descriptor for a marketing project.