Monday Morning Quarterback Part I
By BOP Staff
May 1, 2012
A five-year engagement sounds like an elaborate ruse.
Kim Hollis: Universal's The Five-Year Engagement, a Jason Segel/Emily Blunt romantic comedy, opened to $10.6 million. Is this a good enough result for a $30 million production?
Max Braden: For me, on paper, if a romantic comedy opens under $15 million, something's gone wrong. In this case, Segel at least should be a well-enough known entity to pull in the crowds. (Blunt, on the other hand, seems to have an inverse relationship with audiences - the harder she wants to be in movies, the less interested they are.) But the bigger problem is the lack of a hook. The title alone is enough to make audiences question whether they'll be falling asleep before the climax. $10 million is about right for the finished project, but overall I think it's a letdown.
Edwin Davies: It'd be a good enough result if it weren't for the people involved. If this starred relative unknowns, was from an unproven director and producer, $11 million against that budget wouldn't be too bad. But considering that the Segel/Stoller team has produced two fairly successful films (Forgetting Sarah Marshall and The Muppets) and that Judd Apatow, a few misses aside, is a consistent hitmaker, this is not enough. For me, this failed due to opening in the wake of Think Like A Man, which no one could have expected to be the hit that it has become, but which did seem to take a lot of the potential date-night audience away. It also can't be said enough that the ads for this did not sell the concept or the humor very well. Without a killer moment for the trailer, I think people felt like they could wait to see what the word-of-mouth was, which probably won't be strong enough to give it the legs to become adequate counterprogramming against The Avengers.
Reagen Sulewski: This is definitely a troubling result more for Segel's future than for the movie itself (which should be fine with that budget). I think I agree with the idea that there just wasn't enough funny in the ads, and when your big laugh line is about "peonies,” there's probably a problem.
Kim Hollis: While I think that the movie’s performance relative to budget isn’t all that bad, I have to feel like this opening weekend is a disappointment. Segel has been a guy who can actually draw audiences, much to my continued surprise (even though I’ve always really liked him). I don’t know that I think this result should be any real cause for alarm for him, necessarily, but he definitely needs to be discerning with future projects. Of course, we know he’s funny and that he’s responsible for the screenplays for many of the films he does, so he ought to bounce back fine.
David Mumpower: I want to echo something Edwin said and explore the idea. The trailers did not sell the concept, and this is important because I consider the underlying premise of the film a winner. All of us know a few couples who seem like they have been engaged since the dawn of time. A film that explores how this could happen is a solid concept for a romantic comedy. And as we have noted, albeit in a backhanded manner, the leads are engaging people who should sell the movie if it looked good. To a lesser extent, I'm reminded of Amy Adams' bomb, Leap Year, which opened to $9.2 million in 2008. To a greater extent, I'm reminded of Jason Segel's interchangeable replacement, John Krasinksi, and Mandy Moore in License to Wed. That title opened to a modest $10.4 million but wound up with $43.8 million worth of date night compromises. Since The Five-Year-Engagement opened slightly higher than those movies, I don't see this as a nightmare result but instead a modest one with some upward potential if it shows similar legs to License to Wed. If it dies quickly like Leap Year, this is an unsuccessful project.