Why ‘Steve Jobs’ bombed at the box office

26 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Steve Jobs’ Doesn’t Click: Why Sony Was Right to Pass.

Its limited release in New York and Los Angeles two weeks ago set a pre-theater release record, the 15th highest in history. It may be generating Oscars buzz for Michael Fassbender’s titular role in Danny Boyle’s biopic, but Steve Jobs is failing to impress in the US box office.Danny Boyle’s film starring Michael Fassbender as the iconic Apple co-founder failed to rally moviegoers in much of the country — nearly a year after former Sony Pictures chairman Amy Pascal had enough concerns that she let the project move to Universal. Steve Jobs had a budget of approximately $30 million (€27m) and has taken in a total of $9.98 million (€8.97m) to date, according to The Hollywood Reporter. But such praise and overwhelmingly positive reviews haven’t resulted in big box office numbers — Steve Jobs only pulled in $7.3 million on its opening weekend.

In August 2014, a top Sony marketing executive warned co-chairman Amy Pascal that Steve Jobs needed a major star to overcome its marketing challenges. That’s less than a third of the movie’s $30 million cost, Variety says, and that total pricetag doubles when you include the cost of marketing the feature. Two years and one Sony hack later, Universal’s released another film about Apple’s founder, but with Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle, Oscar-winning writer Aaron Sorkin, Oscar-winning producer Scott Rudin, and a gilded cast—Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen—on board. Steve Jobs would reportedly need to make around $120 million to break even — an unlikely figure when you consider that it’s $7.3 million opening weekend is scarcely half-a-million more than Ashton Kutcher’s critically panned Jobs scored on its debut.

Universal believes that the film can recover, with the film studio’s domestic distribution chief Nick Carpou telling Variety: “We are going to continue to support the film in the markets where it is showing strength and we’re going to continue to do it aggressively and proactively. While it had been achieving strong numbers in limited release, a nationwide expansion of Danny Boyle’s Oscar-tipped drama Steve Jobs flopped, with only $7.2m from more than 2,400 cinemas. These early numbers vindicate Sony analysts who, as shown by the emails leaked when the studio was hacked last year, said Steve Jobs might only make back some $30 million across its entire lifespan in North America.

This number is heavily swayed towards independent venues in bigger cities and is especially underwhelming when compared with The Social Network’s initial bow of $22.4m. Universal and the major studios are in the business of wide releases backed by a major marketing spend, not platform offerings, yet Jobs is playing like a quintessential specialty release.

The movie earned more than half-a-million dollars in its first weekend at just four theaters, finally pulling in $2.6 million for the two-week period it was playing in only a few locations. There’s time yet for Steve Jobs to recover—the movie’s been rapturously received, and awards buzz should buoy its long-view performance—but some will argue that its flop is another symptom of the modern moviegoer’s aversion to quality filmmaking. Vin Diesel’s fantasy horror The Last Witch Hunter, which also stars Michael Caine and Elijah Wood, made only $10.8m – worrying news for Lionsgate, given a reported budget of around $75m. Paranormal Activity films used to be a reliable draw around Halloween (the third in the series opened with $52m), but their popularity has dwindled, so closing the saga was a smart decision.

After being battered by several biographies and decades of unrelenting media coverage, the modern moviegoer is a wee bit exhausted by anything to do with Jobs, and especially indifferent to a movie called Steve Jobs that doesn’t have a big-name star at its helm. (Fassbender is a miracle of an actor, but DiCaprio he is not). There are other factors, of course: The lack of a proven box office star and competition from The Martian and Bridge of Spies—two other movies pitched for sophisticated audiences. There were also widely published complaints from Apple executives and reporters (who knew the real Steve Jobs) that Aaron Sorkin’s portrayal of the entrepreneur was more fiction than fact. Because of Sorkin’s involvement, comparisons were invariably made to his previous film, The Social Network, which drew critical raves and a $22.4 million opening.

When putting Steve Jobs together, Pascal was worried about the film’s commercial prospects, since Sorkin’s script was essentially a three-act play, versus a broader biopic like Sony’s Social Network, about Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg. But as Variety‘s Lang points out, the comparisons are faulty. “The Social Network benefited from arriving just as Facebook was becoming ubiquitous. Perhaps movie-goers are saving their money for Star Wars, or perhaps the heavily fictionalized version of the Apple founder seen in Steve Jobs didn’t resonate with people in the way the real man did in real life. Directed by David Fincher and written by Sorkin, Social Network debuted to $22.4 million in early October 2011 on its way to earning $97 million domestically and $128 million overseas. The Academy might back her up in that assessment, but from a financial perspective, her company’s decision not to follow through with the movie seems like the right one.

The story of the social media platform’s litigious origins had the shock of new. “In contrast, Jobs, his genius for design and demanding personality, have all been thoroughly picked over. That’s the other thing – this can’t be without a star playing Jobs and can’t be done by just anyone,” Pavlic had written in an August 2014 email to Pascal that came to light during the Sony hack. “Obviously. The script is a perfect 10 but in the wrong hands it grosses mid 30’s.” “Let’s take the obvious off the table here — there are marketing liabilities to this script.

As it turns out, the movie’s fourth-top grossing theater was the Cinemark Century Cinema 16 in Mountain View, Calif., less than 10 miles away from Apple headquarters. Otherwise, one rival studio executive believes the majority of moviegoers aren’t interested in seeing a movie about Steve Jobs, since much of his story is known. “Put it this way, 21 percent of the theaters playing the movie accounted for roughly 57 percent of the total gross. That’s huge,” says one box office analyst with access to grosses. “Conversely, 39 percent of theaters did less than $1,000.” Paul Dergarabedian, Rentrack’s box office analyst, notes, “Often sophisticated, intellectually charged movies like Steve Jobs have a a tough time gaining huge acceptance by a general audience. They play well in the major cities and among the intelligentsia and then have a tougher time gaining acceptance in wide release.” He adds, “That said, it’s a great movie and it’s box office performance should not impact it’s Oscar prospects.

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Finding the ‘Joy’ in Jennifer Lawrence

20 Jan 2016 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Joy’ review: Jennifer Lawrence cleans up in enjoyable biopic.

Writer-director David O. Their latest collaboration — following in the footsteps of Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle — is a biographical picture about the life and times of Joy Mangano.Jennifer Lawrence groans when she’s asked about singing the classic Nancy and Frank Sinatra duet Something Stupid with co-star Edgar Ramirez in her new film Joy. “David [O Russell, the movie’s director] texted me last night to ask if he could put it on the soundtrack and this is what I texted him back,” the actor says as she digs around for her mobile phone and reads out her response verbatim. “‘David, no!!!’ and it is three exclamation marks.In a very abbreviated nutshell, that actually happened to Joy Mangano, 59, the fabulously successful Long Island entrepreneur/inventor and HSN pitchwoman whose rags-to-riches journey started with the invention of a mop.

Russell has made three kinds of movies: offbeat romances (“Flirting With Disaster”), surreal comedies (“I Heart Huckabees”) and dramas about dysfunctional yet appealing families (“The Fighter”). In real life, Mangano is the Long Island housewife and inventor who became famous and eventually rich after bouts of near-bankruptcy, by creating and marketing her Miracle Mop. Out Boxing Day in Australia, the film stars Jennifer Lawrence in the fictionalised life story of Joy Mangano, a single mum from Long Island who made her fortune selling a mop. On Christmas Day, “Joy,” a movie inspired by her struggles as a divorced, single mother turned mogul by way of that mop, will open at movie theaters across America.

This was before she hooked up with the giant Home Shopping Network, becoming their most effective pitch person and eventually selling her parent company, Ingenious Designs, to HSN. Gross, I can’t listen to it; I have to go to bed.’ And I said yes, but it’s a groaning, reluctant yes.” It’s the kind of unfiltered moment you come to expect when interviewing Lawrence, who may now be one of the most famous actors on the planet but still blurts out whatever she’s thinking with such self-deprecating charm it’s impossible not to be, well, charmed.

Jennifer Lawrence’s performance as Miracle Mop inventor and QVC pitchwoman Joy Mangano glues the movie together, but it threatens to unravel at any time. Lawrence, 25, looks genuinely surprised when complimented about how unchanged she seems from our earlier interviews before the fame and Oscars. “But there would be no reason to change,” she says with a shrug. “I just have a job and I love my job. In the film, Lawrence’s Mangano is a colourful character, a single mom with a unique relationship and friendship with her ex-husband, and an enterprising woman who parlays her creativity into an incredibly successful business.

Mom (Virginia Madsen) stays in her bedroom and watches soap operas, until she falls for a Haitian plumber (Jimmy Jean-Louis) who fixes a hole in her bedroom floor. She landed minor roles on TV shows such as Monk, Cold Case and Medium before her 2010 indie film Winter’s Bone led to her becoming the second youngest best actress Oscar nominee in history. This is true even when the film tilts off its rocker with a bit of Russell-esque madness built into the screenplay, and with the director failing to always keep the energy going. That resulted in not only a string of critically acclaimed films, an Academy Award and another Oscar nomination, but also her very own mega-franchise as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games.

Joy’s grandma (endearing Diane Ladd) delivers messages of empowerment and smooths over constant fights, but she’s opposed by the money-grubbing rich woman (Isabella Rossellini) who dates Joy’s dad and sends negative messages about her. Lawrence’s endearing habit of speaking her mind resulted in a controversial essay she penned on Lena Dunham’s website about her discovery during the Sony hacks that she was being paid less “than the lucky people with dicks” on her recent films, including American Hustle. “I completely understand when people say actors shouldn’t talk about politics and things they don’t know about, but this was my gender at stake and it was being threatened with unfairness and I thought, ‘What is the point of having this voice if it’s not to speak out for myself and for everyone else who can’t?’,” she says unapologetically.

Upon learning that Lawrence would be playing her mom, Miranne says, “I braced myself so I wouldn’t fall on the floor.” As for Mangano, she says Lawrence playing her “made me feel old, number one. Lawrence hangs out with a posse of celebrity girlfriends, including Amy Schumer and singer Adele, but the reason is simple. “The friendship gets expedited a lot when you meet someone you know beyond a shadow of a doubt has no agenda,” she says. Draining her savings and taking out loans, she started off small, selling her mops to local boat owners. “She persuaded QVC to take a thousand, but sales were poor and they tried to send them back,” says Mason. “She suggested letting her demonstrate it herself, and the channel agreed.” Sales skyrocketed and Mangano’s career as a QVC pitch woman was launched. That’s so amazing there aren’t even words.” Mangano and her three children didn’t view “Joy” until the Dec. 13 premiere in Manhattan, though a family outing to see “Trainwreck” included a trailer.

This is, after all, the self-confessed reality-show junkie who confessed in a recent Vogue interview that on the night of her 25th birthday party, friends surprised her with a visit from reality queen Kris Jenner, who presented her with a cake inscribed, ‘Happy Birthday, you piece of shit!’ The only time she seems tongue-tied is when asked about her relationship status, after a four-year stint with X-Men: First Class co-star Nicholas Hoult and a year with Coldplay singer Chris Martin before their breakup earlier this year. “Next!” Lawrence says in a no-nonsense voice, pausing as she decides if she’ll continue that thought. For one thing, Mangano’s childhood is not that interesting for a film, despite some flashbacks to her as a youngster (when she is played by 10-year-old Isabella Cramp, who does actually look like we imagine Lawrence could have at the same age). A satire on the acquisitiveness of the public? (Here, QVC foists unnecessary things on gullible viewers who could better save their money.) Russell doesn’t seem to know. And, of course, the grave ending would be a lie: Mangano is very much alive at the age of 59, still inventing, still pitching products, still a superstar of the American home shopping universe. There’s the Clothes It All luggage system, essentially a rolling suitcase with a removable garment bag, and the Super Chic vacuum, which releases fragrance into the air.

If I even casually say something to a reporter, that quote haunts me for the rest of my life,” she says, “so I am never, ever, ever talking about boys again!” I don’t think any of us brought enough tissues!” A good portion of the film was shot last winter in Boston, and though the always-busy Mangano was twice scheduled to visit the set, snowstorms made travel impossible. He has mixed genres successfully before, as in the anti-war comedy-drama “Three Kings,” but the blender often grinds to a halt in “Joy.” Just as we’re getting used to the realism of Mangano’s fight for respect, Russell photographs Rossellini as if she were a gargoyle.

One of her creations, the thin and velvet-covered Huggable Hanger, remains a bestseller for HSN, at more than 300 million sold, and was endorsed by Oprah Winfrey. Yet in “Silver Linings Playbook,” Cooper, De Niro and Russell all supported her with fine work; here they lay back and make the movie a one-ring circus where she has to be acrobat, bareback rider and clown.

He had a presence all of his own.” At one point, Miranne says, “Jennifer grabbed Joy’s hand and said to David, ‘Look at the nails, a French manicure.’ ” (That manicure is a Mangano signature.) Lawrence revealed that in studying for her part as Joy, she watched recordings of the inventor’s early pitches on HSN, including ones for “Huggable Hangers” and found her so compelling that she wanted to buy them on the spot. There is something special when creative people get together.” Mangano’s take on Lawrence? “She’s beyond her years, so brilliant, hysterical and so talented.

Critically, Russell’s sense of wonder and beauty turns elegiac moments — especially when Joy Mangano becomes fully realized as a woman and as a business executive — into scenes of great beauty. Lawrence recently said on “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon” that the movie was “half Joy Mangano’s story and half [Russell’s] imagination and other powerful, strong women who inspired him.” The director mined much of his Mangano material by phone.

The cast includes Edgar Ramirez, Diane Ladd, Virginia Madsen, Isabella Rossellini, Susan Lucci (in a mock TV soap opera that gives Joy some of its silliness) and even Melissa Rivers as her late mother Joan Rivers. There’s no situation Joy cannot overcome or circumvent.” At a Newsday photo shoot at Mangano’s luxurious but serene 42,000-square-foot mansion on 11 acres in St. As for parting advice for the ambitious? “If this movie inspires even just one more person to believe in themselves and to go after their dreams, then it’s made a very special impact in this world.

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