The Bourne Identity
June 14, 2002
After they rescue you from the sea, you regain consciousness, finding yourself shot, bleeding, half-drowned. You do not remember who you are, or where you've come from. Two things are abundantly clear; you are being hunted, and you can defend yourself. Oh, you can do that extremely well; you're quite the little killing machine. But are you a good guy or a bad guy? And will you have time to figure out who you are and what you are before you wind up dead?
Currently in post-production, Universal's international spy thriller The Bourne Identity is slated to open June 14th, 2002, against stiff competition from Scooby-Doo and Windtalkers. Bourne will mark the summer blockbuster debut of a live-action Matt Damon. Matt is proving to be a great big Hollywood star, and an uneven box-office draw. After early successes like 1998's Good Will Hunting ($138.4 million) and 1999's The Talented Mr. Ripley ($81.3 million), 2000 at the box office was disappointing for the talented Mr. Damon.
Damon diversified his resumé in 2001, among other things appearing in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, representing Project Greenlight, and taking a choice role in the ensemble smash Ocean's 11. Now, in 2002, it is time to try that leading-man thing again.
Adapted for the big screen by Tony Gilroy (Proof of Life) and W. Blake Herron, and directed by Doug Liman (Go, Swingers), this movie offers the promise of an updated, younger retelling of the 1980 Robert Ludlum novel and 1988 TV movie starring Richard Chamberlain and Jacklyn Smith. The writers' and director's task, should they choose to accept it, is to translate an intricate plot into an accessible thrill-ride that neither confuses nor condescends audiences. While I prefer to be challenged by movies like these, I also acknowledge the eye candy that was Mission: Impossible 2 outdrew its more complicated predecessor by $35 million in total domestic gross. (Quick tangent - which movie was really more successful? That extra $35 million came a full four years later as part of the widest opening ever. Adjusted for inflation, M:I beats M:I2 by $5 million. Hollywood, take note.)
The Bourne Identity toplines Damon as Jason Bourne and Franka Potente (Run Lola Run) as the improbably named Marie St. Jacques. While both the premise and the promise of one hell of a car chase should grab male moviegoers' attention, Universal will be hoping the international vistas and on-screen chemistry between Damon and Potente - their characters find love on the run - provide crossover appeal. Damon, who could find on-screen chemistry with a dishrag, should deliver on his end. Potente, relatively unknown to American audiences, doesn't exactly conjure images of Jacklyn Smith or Faye Dunaway (whose 1975 Three Days of the Condor with Robert Redford begs comparison to this film). Julia Stiles was added to the cast about four months before production started, perhaps to up the babe factor a bit. Clive Owen (Croupier), Chris Cooper (American Beauty), and Brian Cox (Nuremberg) round out the cast nicely.
With a prime release date and what should be strong backing from Universal, the $75 million-budgeted production has the potential to open in the US in the low $20 million range. If well received, The Bourne Identity could easily see a triple-digit finish. The European setting will not hurt the film's overseas box office chances either.
There's a lot riding on this movie for everyone involved, perhaps especially for Universal - The Bourne Identity was the first of Ludlum's three novels about Jason Bourne. Franchise films seem to be Universal's specialty these days, so expect the sequel to be greenlit shortly after audiences identify Bourne as a hit. (Calvin Trager/BOP)
June 16, 2002
With The Bourne Identity having a strong first weekend at the box office, Universal is currently considering whether to go ahead with the two sequels to the film. Based on critical and audience reaction along with the excellent earnings results thus far, all signs point to The Bourne Identity 2 and 3 being approved for production. (Kim Hollis/BOP)
Vital statistics for The Bourne Identity
Matt Damon, Franka Potente, Clive Owen, Chris Cooper, Julia Stiles
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Brian Cox, Judy Parfitt, Anthony Green, Delphine Lanson
Tony Gilroy, William Blake Herron
||Click Here for Trailer
Awards page for The Bourne Identity
||Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture
Comparison films for The Bourne Identity
|Mission: Impossible 2
|General's Daughter, The
|Talented Mr. Ripley, The ^
|Legend of Bagger Vance
|All the Pretty Horses