Monday Morning Quarterback Part II
By BOP Staff
October 15, 2014
Kim Hollis: Robert Downey Jr.'s The Judge debuted in fifth place with $13.1 million. Why didn't this one do better?
Edwin Davies: I think the key problem was the shift in the marketing as the weekend drew nearer. The early ads made it seem like a very serious-minded, worthy drama with powerhouse performances, but the later ones emphasized the humor and made it seem much more lighthearted. Downey admitted in his Reddit AMA that they made the change when they discovered that test audiences reacted more strongly to the humor in the film than the drama, so they were clearly trying to play to their strengths, but unfortunately they did not realize what those strengths were early enough, so they ended up sending mixed messages. It also didn't help that the ads made the plot seem unnecessarily convoluted. It could have overcome all of that if the reviews were strong enough, but those weren't there either, or if it hadn't opened in the wake of Gone Girl, which is dominating the conversation as far as films for adults are concerned.
Felix Quinonez: I think a lot of it comes down to the middling reviews. This was made to look like a serious, prestige film and the audience that it seemed to be courting would have been turned off by the weak reception it got from critics. I also believe Gone Girl's stronger than expected performance might have stolen some of the attention away from The Judge.
Kim Hollis: I'd agree that reviews killed this one. For serious-minded films like these, audiences really pay attention to what the critics say and often base their decisions on whether to see such movies in theaters on those reviews. Honestly, though, I don't even think this would have come close to what it did had Downey not been the primary star.
David Mumpower: In addition to the other issues, I would add that the film always felt slight to me. In order to sell a drama, there has to be substance. I actually quite enjoy this type of film, as the parent/child legal drama subset includes one of my personal favorites, Class Action. The Judge always felt like an inferior version of that, which is lamentable for a title with a cast this great.
Kim Hollis: The erotic thriller Addicted opened to $7.5 million. What do you think about this debut?
Edwin Davies: Considering that I hadn't heard of it before the Friday numbers came in, I'm going to say that this is surprising. Based on what I've read about the film after the fact, I can see how it managed to break out (in an admittedly modest way) since it was distinct in two ways: it was aimed at African-American audiences, a demographic which, as we say roughly half a dozen times a year, is generally under-served by Hollywood, and it was an erotic thriller, which is a genre that generally doesn't crop up in theaters all that often these days. Those factors combined probably did much to help Addicted set itself apart from other films and to break out despite such a limited release.