Monday Morning Quarterback Part II
By BOP Staff
April 20, 2016
Kim Hollis: Jon Favreau has now opened three different films to $100 million plus. Does this make him the most accomplished actor/director ever?
John Hamann: I don’t think Favreau is quite there yet. However, with every release that isn’t Cowboy vs. Aliens, and with him on board for The Jungle Book sequel, he only continues to climb the most audience-friendly list. If he is still doing the same in five years, he could be the next Spielberg.
Felix Quinonez: I definitely don't think so. Box office success isn't the only way to measure how accomplished a director is. And even by that standard, the movies he opened to $100 million plus were for movies that had a built-in fan base. That's not to take away from their achievement, especially the first Iron Man (which actually fell a bit short of a $100 million opening) and Tje Jungle Book. But it's not entirely proof of how "accomplished" of a director Favreau is. And Iron Man 2 could have been two hours of Robert Downey Jr. reading a phone book and it would have opened to $100 million plus. Let's not forget that he also directed Cowboys and Aliens and Zathura. On the other hand, he's also got Elf which was definitely huge by any standard. So I'd say that overall, he's got a good track record, but as far as accomplished directors go, he hasn't reached the top of the mountain yet.
And as far as an actor, what exactly has he accomplished besides being in a lot of movies? He hasn't headlined any blockbuster or won many (any?) awards for his performances. I'm not saying Ben Affleck is the MOST accomplished actor/director but he's someone who's definitely accomplished more. As an actor, he's headlined big hits, not just appeared in them. He's directed movies that got great reviews. And in the case of Argo and The Town, made a lot of money. They didn't make nearly as much as the Iron Man movies but they also cost A LOT less. He's also won an Oscar for Best Screenplay and Best Picture.
David Mumpower: This is more of a novelty along the lines of what we've seen with Jennifer Lawrence rather than indicative of ultimate greatness. He's not ready to knock Cameron off the throne, and I'm dubious that he ever will. That's not a slight, though. If I'm cutting anybody there, it's Steven Spielberg or George Lucas or John Lasseter, all of whom have a better claim. Still, what Favreau's done is truly spectacular. I could make the argument that Iron Man 2 is cheating a bit since Iron Man built the brand so strong, but if he directs a bad first movie, that doesn't happen. In fact, if Favreau had directed The Avengers, it might have had quite the same quality - that's a tough hurdle for any filmmaker to clear - I think he still would have claimed the opening weekend record by a lot with that film. Consumers have developed trust in him as well as Disney, which is why the Jungle Book pairing was so serendipitous. If he helms future tentpole projects of similar scale, his name in the advertising will boost revenue while provide assurance for those who would go anyway. There are only a handful of directors in the world who can say that. At the age of 49, he's one. That's remarkable in and of itself.