So this weekend it was the stars of new release “Playing for Keeps,” Gerard Butler and Jessica Biel, who had to face the dreaded holdovers “Skyfall,” “Breaking Dawn Part 2,” “Lincoln,” among others, which have dominated the grosses for the last few weeks. Did this sexy duo have a shot?
Not even close.
With the film currently receiving a 2%(!) on Rotten Tomatoes, this relationship comedy that also stars Uma Thurman, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Dennis Quaid had a better chance making money if it were released first quarter 2013 than in the heat of awards season as its projected $6 million weekend (that’s a #6 finish) was nothing more than a sacrificial lamb to the films that have continued to make coin for four weeks or more at the multiplex.
But there was a surprise as “Skyfall” landed at number one, knocking off “Breaking Dawn 2″’s three-week lead. The latest Bond earning $11 million over the “Twilight” finale’s $8.7 million (both titles have grossed over $260 million domestically).
As Butler and Biel lick their wounds, lets see if either of them are worthy enough to win the week.
Since his breakout as the chiseled Spartan in “300,” Gerard Butler has enjoyed everything that comes with being a good looking guy in Hollywood: the girls, attention from the tabloids, joining the long line of heartthrobs who get starring vehicles in romantic comedies. And after a stint in rehab the Scottish actor changed it up a bit with lending his voice to the kids animated feature “How to Train Your Dragon” and earning high marks in indies like “Coriolanus” and “Machine Gun Preacher.” However, how he makes money is with his looks, hence, “Playing for Keeps.” Unfortunately, this one doesn’t seem like it’s going to find an audience, even with a week filled of talk show appearances showing his soft side with soccer skills and talking about him settling down with one girl. But it’s certainly not the last we’ll see of Butler. With a number of action movies on the horizon the rebound from this weekend should be quick and painless.
The disappointment of “Playing for Keeps” will have a lesser affect on Biel. After being a major TV star on “7th Heaven” she has been successful in taking on a wide variety of roles, so getting a paycheck to play the love interest of Gerard Butler is hardly a tough call. But recently her choices have not been the best as this year alone she starred in the limited release (it was marketed more to the VOD crowd) thriller “The Tall Man” and later “Total Recall” was a box office disappointment. However, her celebrity status couldn’t be any higher having recently married Justin Timberlake, leading many to flock to shows like “Ellen” this week to hear her gush about marriage.
And the winner is…
It’s not even a contest, Biel is Teflon this week. But don’t fret Gerard. Just look at your buddy Matthew McConaughey and the year he’s having. Filled with variety and award buzz, if this one-time romantic comedy staple can be highlighted outside of his looks than so can you.