Monday, 28 June 2010

Hollywood Babble On & On #541: An Unsolved Mystery

Welcome to the show folks...

Some folks are touchy when it comes to their favorite movie stars. I made one little comment about actress Jennifer Aniston's status as a box-office draw at Deadline: Hollywood, and got some pretty passionate rebuttals from her most ardent publicists fans.

Basically I said that the producers of an upcoming
film called Horrible Bosses which features Aniston were making a smart move surrounding her with other name actors, which was done by the producers of He's Not That Into You. Well, that really got the dander up for some people who went on to take me to task for belittling the awesome stardom of the former cast-member of Friends.

Well, I thought, this must be what her fans are doing instead of buying tickets to her movies, because I've taken a look at Jennifer Aniston's actual box office stats. Despite being outnumbered, she isn't completely without money-makers, so I've compiled a list of her biggest movies, how much they made and why they made so much money:

Bruce Almighty Uni. $242,829,261

Her single biggest hit. Owes most of its success to the fact that Jim Carrey was one of the hottest properties in movie comedy at the time.

Marley and Me Fox $143,153,751
It was about a cute, rambunctious, dog that (SPOILER ALERT) dies. I didn't even know Aniston was in the film until I saw it on the list at Box Office Mojo.

The Break-Up Uni. $118,703,275
Put Vince Vaughn in a comedy and you're pretty much guaranteed anywhere between $70-$100 million at the domestic box-office. The sad part, at least for Aniston, was that her role could have been cast with any number of actresses, and still perform about the same.

He's Just Not That Into You WB (NL) $93,953,653
This movie pretty much had every actor working in Hollywood. Poor Jen was just a face in a big crowd when it came to selling the film.

Along Came Polly Uni. $88,097,164
It was a Ben Stiller comedy released at a time when Ben Stiller comedies pretty much averaged that gross. Pretty much the same situation as with The Break-Up.

As for the films that are marketed as Jennifer Aniston star vehicles, things aren't so rosy. They range from romantic comedies, to "gimme an Oscar" indie films, and the biggest of them was The Bounty Hunter at $66 million. That's not bad at first glance, until you remember that it had a $40 million production budget and about the same, or more, spent on prints and advertising. Then you're looking at a loss of about $20 million. That's story's repeated with almost every film, with the biggest raking up $20-$40 million, but usually falling shy of profitability or even breaking even.

So why does she continue to get so much attention and big movie roles when she's not a safe bet as a ticket seller?

The answer is simple, it's because she gets so much attention.

I don't think a week passes without her appearing on some magazine cover, or entertainment show with an "exclusive" shared only with 20 other media outlets, whining about her fizzled failure of a love life. The tabloids also take turns speculating and circulating rumors about her reuniting with ex-husband Brad Pitt behind the back of his current squeeze Angelina Jolie, and these get to the level of a feeding frenzy whenever she has a movie coming out.

It helps get her work, because studios think that anyone that gets that much coverage must be a big star, but it also keeps her from being a really bankable star. Basically the people who buy these rags to read about her getting dumped, again, and watch her whine about her need for privacy on her 15th exclusive TV interview that week, are pretty much sick of the sight of her when it comes to buying a ticket.

That's what I think. What do you think?

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