Can JULIA ROBERTS open DUPLICITY and a look at WATCHMEN Box-Office
With the release of the caper thriller/romance “Duplicity” on Friday one has to wonder if actress Julia Roberts can open a film in a big way once again. She’s really been the only female talent that’s a sure thing at the box-office since Pretty Women made her a star in 1990. Roberts, who has taken time off to raise her kids (she hasn’t headlined a film since The Mexican in 2001) is a special talent indeed. She has one of the most unique screen personas in the history of movies. I remember sitting in a movie theater in 1991 watching Sleeping with the Enemy. I knew I wasn’t watching anything overly special, but the way she just radiated off the screen you couldn’t help but love her. Whatever a star is, she is it. She elevates everything she appears in and her reputation as America’s Sweetheart was well justified. Now, at age 41, and mostly out of the public spotlight, it will be interesting to see how this film opens with her as the lead once again. Even with newer very appealing talent like Anne Hathaway and Rachel McAdams making names for themselves, very few will ever have what Julia has, and that really can’t be put into words. You either have it or you don’t! Her reported net worth of $140,000,000 is also proof of that. Obviously I’m a big fan and rooting for a great showing.
I can’t say I’m surprised by Watchmen’s 68% drop-off in ticket sales ($85,751,993 first 10 days – and it’s also underperforming overseas) in its second weekend in release. I didn’t drink the ‘can’t miss’ Kool-Aid on that one. While I wound up really digging the film, I never had the feeling that the mainstream audience would totally embrace it, even in the final weeks leading up to its release. In retrospect I applaud Warner Bros for keeping Zach Snyder’s vision of the material intact and, in time, they should recoup there investment. Still, I think they went way overboard on their marketing costs ($50 million +), flushing millions down the toilet in excess promotion with almost all of it focused on the target fanboy audience. It just never made sense to me. Box-office aside, Watchmen will always have its core supporters and it’s a film that will probably be re-discovered like Blade Runner was years after its initial release.
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