Monday Morning Quarterback Part II

By BOP Staff

February 5, 2014

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Kim Hollis: Labor Day, a film that was once positioned as an Oscar contender, earned $5.2 million this weekend. What do you think of this result?

Brett Ballard-Beach: "Once positioned as an Oscar contender" is such a sad and lonely little phrase, but when it's true, it's true. I think most recently of another Paramount would-be Oscar contender that ended up getting the critical shaft and not much love from the Academy - The Lovely Bones. That got a little bit of financial resurrection when the studio decided to remarket it and pitch it to teen girls and it opened wide to $17 million and finished at $44 million. At $65 million, that cost nearly four times as much as Labor Day did ($18 million) so this isn't a financial disaster by any means for Reitman et al, but a reminder of how on paper months in advance things seem like a sure bet. Then it's discovered that the acerbic has been traded for the maudlin and you're left with a line like "I though that peach pie looked familiar" uttered with 100% conviction.

Edwin Davies: This release struck me as the studio trying their best to salvage a bad situation. The early reviews for the film that appeared towards the end of last year pretty much killed the impression that it was going to be an Oscar contender, so opening it against the prestige pictures would just kill its momentum at the box office. Taking it into January meant it had less competition, and it could theoretically work as counter programming for the Super Bowl. The thinking behind it is sound, but the response to the film has been so overwhelmingly negative, and the ads made it look like such a melodramatic schmaltz-fest, that the best they could hope for was a result that wasn't entirely horrible. Given the budget, this fits that description.


Felix Quinonez: I think this is a very sad result. I wanted this movie to do a lot better because I think Jason Reitman is great. But this movie really needed to get good reviews and it clearly failed in that the department. The fact that Labor Day was not up to the usual standards of Reitman's work and that it was completely shut out at the Oscar race sealed its fate. Its low budget will keep it from being a financial disaster but I wonder what this will do for Reitman. It was not so long ago that his career seemed to be on fire. Juno and Up in the Air were both critical darlings and commercial successes. Young Adult got very good reviews but still fizzled at the box office now Labor Day was critically savaged and pretty much ignored by audiences.

Jason Barney: Yes, this result is pretty bad. The potential "Oscar contender" label does nothing for me and only makes this effort look even more pathetic. The official budget was listed at around $18 million. Against that this is an awful opening. Coming out of the gate at #7 against films that have been out for three weeks or more is a statement to just how little support or interest there was for this. Domestically this one might reach $10 million, but a film that isn't even in the top 10 for two weeks doesn't give us much to talk about.

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