Monday Morning Quarterback Part II

By BOP Staff

February 20, 2012

Maybe if I choke him he will stop being so awesome.

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The Vow won the war, as it turns out.

Kim Hollis: This Means War, aka "The Battle for Reese Witherspoon," opened to $17.4 million over the three-day portion of the weekend. Is this a good enough result for a film with a $65 million budget?

Brett Beach: I am not certain this is going to be tremendously strong overseas, so I would say no, it's not a good enough start, but a lot better than it deserves based on how terrible all the advertising (and the reviews) have made it seem. Bright spot: It will outgross How Do You Know. Brighter spot: It cost $55 million less than How Do You Know. Brightest spot: It looks less appealing to my wife than The Vow (she can't get past Channing Tatum's ears) so it's a film I can shove out of my consciousness going forth (on the other hand, I will probably be renting The Vow down the line).

Matt Huntley: First, Brett: The Vow is actually a decent romantic drama, so I'd say you and your wife are OK to give it a chance, regardless of Tatum's supposedly strange ears.

As for the other Valentine's Day movie on the other end of the spectrum, This Means War, its opening seems a little soft to me. I would have put the three-day closer to $21 million and the four-day at $25, especially given that its crossing of genres - action and romance - likely appealed to both sexes and they'd be able to compromise on seeing this one instead of, and forgive me if I'm being sexist, a full-on estrogen flick like The Vow) or a full-on testosterone flick like Safe House or Ghost Rider. The only explanation I can offer is that it arrived during too crowded a marketplace and there just wasn't enough room for it to breathe. I think its premise is commercially viable, but it needed more of an audience to itself to really shine.


Bruce Hall: Strong enough? No, not really. Not when Captain Kirk and Handsome Bob are the ones fighting the battle. Chris Pine and Tom Hardy are well liked rising stars, and this type of flick really seems right up Reese Witherspoon's alley. Someone intended this to be at least a modest hit. And despite the generally lackluster reviews and the dumb trailers, it still seemed like it should have been more fun - and more successful - than it was. It's an underwhelming result in my opinion, but it looks like the total worldwide gross currently stands at just under $30 million. There's a fair shot this one will at least break even.

Edwin Davies: I'd say not, since the components seemed to suggest that it could have done much better. It's got two likable male leads, both of whom are coming off big hits (Star Trek and Inception) and one of whom is the villain in one of the biggest, if not the biggest, films of the year (The Dark Knight Rises). This seemed poised to take advantage of their burgeoning star power by hooking it to McG, a director with a solid track record of making mediocre films that make a decent amount of money, and a premise that was clear and easily marketable (even if the title proved less so, as evidenced by the number of people who thought that it was called Spy Against Spy). Reese Witherspoon's appeal has been on the wane of late, but it seemed like there was plenty in there to warrant a $25-30 million opening.

For me, I think that this result hinges on the decision to move the film's release date back from Valentine's Day. Fox was, probably rightfully, worried about going up against The Vow, but if This Means War had any chance of making an impact it would have done so then, when it could have been a decent consensus choice for couples torn between The Vow and Safe House. Opening three days later may have cost the film quite dearly in the long run.

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