Monday Morning Quarterback Part I
By BOP Staff
September 4, 2012
Edwin Davies: This is about what I expected from the film. I really liked it, myself, but it was never going to be a huge hit out of the gate, especially since most of the cast have never opened a film to huge numbers, and the only two who have (Mia Wasikowska and Shia LaBeouf) did so in films which would have been huge with or without them (Alice In Wonderland and the Transformers series, respectively). If anything, LaBeouf might be more of a weight on the film than a draw at this point. It's hard to judge just how good or bad a result this is for the studio without any budget detail, but based on the cast and the period details I'd guess that a finish in the $30 million range probably won't be enough to put it in the black. If word-of-mouth is strong then maybe it'll do a bit better than that, but I'd be surprised if that happens considering how little enthusiasm there seems to be for the film at this stage.
Jason Barney: This might be a little cruel, but it is nice to see Shia LaBeouf come back down to earth. The only thing I thought he was good in was Disturbia. After that I've shrugged my shoulders, shook my head, and wondered how he got cast in so many big films. His being Indiana Jones's son in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was a huge disappointment, one of the reasons that film was not as good as it could have been. The Transformers films are a bit of a surprise to me and fall strictly in the stupid action category. I expected them to do well, but they far exceeded my expectations, and they weren't that good. LaBeouf was in each of those projects, and I could never figure out why he was cast.
So Lawless opening to $10 million on a weekend with very little competition seems much more normal to me than his run of luck earlier in his career. I don't know if people have gotten sick of him, don't believe he is a good actor, or didn't see much to attract them to this film, but this result seems much more in line with my impression of his talents.
Felix Quinonez: This is pretty much in line with what I was expecting. I think a lot of people have been kidding themselves about how much of a draw any of the actors in this movie are and given the period setting, subject matter and the fact that, in my opinion, it looks pretty generic, this is a perfectly decent opening.
Shalimar Sahota: Despite the all-star cast, a good director, and a few decent moments of action, is there really going to be a big enough audience for a film about the struggles of a bootlegging gang? The story just doesn't have that magnetic pull that's going to convince people that this is worth watching, regardless of just how much it's bursting with talent. Having seen it I will admit that I was a little underwhelmed. Understandably it's based on a book, but the film had a "connect the dots" inevitability to it. Still, I enjoyed the performances (notably Guy Pearce, Gary Oldman and Dane DeHaan) and applaud Hillcoat's decision to not shy away from the violence, which certainly left an impact.
Reagen Sulewski: In some parallel universe, this collection of "It" actors opened this film to $80 million in July and were on the cover of Vanity Fair. But here we have the best demonstration of the gap between studio hype of actors and the appeal of a premise. I don't think anyone was under the particular illusion that Shia LaBeouf was responsible for Transformers, or Tom Hardy for The Dark Knight Rises, but puts their actual appeal in sharp relief. That's not even to mention Chastain (whom I love, but still) and Wasikowska, whose publicists have been working overtime to get them into films, but really haven't made a dent in the whole "box office draw" thing.
Max Braden: Even Tom Hanks could only open Road to Perdition to $22 million, and adjusted for inflation, The Untouchables doesn't fare any better. Lawless lacks both the star power and the iconic characters everyone knows from the 1920s. It wouldn't surprise me if the History Channel's miniseries of Hatfields & McCoys a few months ago drew more viewers than Lawless did this weekend.
David Mumpower: This strikes me as an excellent example of how not all late August releases are dumped there due to quality. In some instances such as this one, there simply was never going to be enough demand for the movie to become a box office blockbuster. We saw the large scale version of this in 2009 with the release of Public Enemies, and that film stopped at $97 million. This one was not intended to a blockbuster so a third of the take would be a solid win. Lawless is a project that always had struggles with funding. Despite this, enough people believed in the source material that it still got made after the financing collapsed the first time. The film has a lot of great actors who are honing their craft rather than star in garbage like Joseph Gordon-Levitt's Premium Rush last week. I applaud the attempt and believe that this is the vastly superior version of the end-of-summer release options. I'll take this over The Apparition or Hit and Run any day of the week.