By David Poland firstname.lastname@example.org
Another BIzarre NYT Story Angle
I really don’t get it.
I have nothing against People Like Us. I kinda like it, for the most part. Chris Pine is the best he’s ever been. Love Michelle Pfeiffer. But the trend story based on utter ignorance doesn’t seem like it should be the standard for The New York Times… a paper I pay for every day.
Every summer since CG started to take over the 4-quadrant movie, there have been a couple of “real world” movies that are big hits. It’s called counterprogramming.
1997 – Air Force One, My Best Friend’s Wedding
1998 – Saving Private Ryan, 3 There’s Something About Mary
1999 – Runaway Bride, Notting Hill, The General’s Daughter, American Pie
2000 – The Perfect Storm. What Lies Beneath
2001 – American Pie 2, The Fast & The Furious, The Princess Diaries
2002 – Signs, Mr Deeds, The Sum of All Fears
2003 – Seabiscuit, SWAT, Freaky Friday, Daddy Day Care
2004 – Fahrenheit 9/11, Collateral
2005 – Wedding Crashers, The 40-Year-Old Virgin
2006 – The Devil Wears Prada, The Break-Up
2007 – Knocked Up, Superbad, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry
2008 – Sex and the City, Step Brothers, You Don’t Mess With The Zohan, What Happens In Vegas
2009 – The Hangover, The Proposal
2010 – The Karate Kid, Gown Ups, The Other Guys
2011 – The Help, Bridesmaids, Horrible Bosses, Bad Teacher
And those are just the $100m+ domestic grossers.
Now, to be fair, I know that the spin on the story was more The Notebook and Eat Pray Love than broader comedies or action for adults. But even there, Hollywood has been pretty consistent.
1997 – Conspiracy Theory
1998 – Six Days, Seven Nights, Hope Floats
1999 – The Thomas Crown Affair, Eyes Wide Shut
2000 – Space Cowboys, Autumn in New York
2001 – America’s Sweethearts, Angel Eyes, crazy/beautiful
2002 – Insomnia, Unfaithful, About a Boy, Windtalkers, Blue Crush, One Hour Photo
2003 – Open Range, Whale Rider
2004 – The Notebook, The Terminal, The Manchurian Candidate, Hero
2005 – Cinderella Man, Crash, Kingdom of Heaven
2006 – World Trade Center, Little Miss Sunshine, The Lake House, The Illusionist
2007 – License to Wed, No Reservations, Mr. Brooks
2008 – Made of Honor, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Swing Vote
2009 – Public Enemies, Julie & Julia, The Time Traveler’s Wife, Funny People, My Sister’s Sister
2010 – Eat Pray Love, Letters To Juliet, The American, Charlie St Cloud
2011 – Crazy, Stupid, Love., Midnight in Paris. Friends With Benefits, Larry Crowne
Or is the Paper of Record a bunch of old farts who are so mired in the early 70s that they can’t see how much MORE of this kind of programming they have available than ever before in the history of entertainment, though theatrical release is not the primary outlet because older people don’t go to the movies in a short window, so bigger budget movies can’t afford to be released expensively in the summer and wait 3 weeks until someone shows up.
That said, there are only sixteen $1m domestic grossers so far this summer. And the ones “for adults” are led by The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel ($31m and counting), Moonrise Kingdom ($4m and just expanding wider), Girl in Progress ($2.6m so far, in spite of a soft release by Lionsgate), and the $350m worldwide grosser, just starting in the US, The Intouchables.
But the simple reality of People Like Us is that it hopes to be the next in the chain of female-centric, older audience hits, The Devil Wears Prada, Mamma Mia!, Julia & Julia, Eat Pray Love, Crazy, Stupid, Love, and this summer’s Meryl movie, Hope Springs. Nothing wrong with that. Don’t blame the filmmaker or the studio or the publicists… kill the messenger who can’t see too far past the pitch.
(Note: This story originally reflected my assumption that Brooks Barnes wrote this piece as I can’t believe someone as smart and experienced as Michael Cieply could have delivered such a mess.)