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George Clooney isn't a box office star and that's fine

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George Clooney isn't a box office star and that's fine

Post by Katiedot on Sat Oct 15 2011, 08:50

Found by Kiki on CNCU, it took me a while to search the link:

from The Projector

Denouement: George Clooney Isn’t a Box Office Star, and That’s Fine

By Tim Grierson

The Projector – Thu, Oct 13, 2011

Over the weekend "The Ides of March," George Clooney's fourth film as a director, opened to a disappointing $10.5 million. Consequently, the reaction by Hollywood journalists was Hmmm, this Clooney fellow seems to be having trouble at the box office these days, huh? It would have been more surprising a response if it hadn't happened for the last several movies Clooney's starred in or directed. By now, we should all be used to the routine: Clooney puts out a movie, it does OK-but-not-amazing business, and then everybody freaks out because Clooney's star is on the decline. Isn't it about time that we all simply face facts? As talented and successful as he is, George Clooney isn't a movie star in the way we expect him to be. That's not his problem. That's ours.

My feelings about all this are probably more complicated than yours. For a year, I worked for an old production company of Clooney's. (This was before he teamed up with Steven Soderbergh for Section Eight.) I met the man a total of (I think) three times, and he was nothing but gracious and friendly, although I don't pretend to have any insights into who he is as a person or what makes him tick. But it was a time when he was transitioning from "E.R." to features, and so I was on hand for the release of "Batman & Robin" and "The Peacemaker." This was not an auspicious start to his feature career. But right as I was leaving, "Out of Sight" came out. This was much more promising: a smart, sexy thriller that really suggested his leading-man potential. It made about $38 million -- less than "Batman & Robin" or "The Peacemaker" or even 1996's "One Fine Day -- but it was the best thing he'd been associated with at that point.

I bring this up because, somewhere along the way, we've seemingly started assuming that Clooney is a major box office titan. But why? Look at his track record: He's been in a grand total of five movies that have made over $100 million domestically. One of those was "Batman & Robin." Three of them were "Ocean's" movies. The other was "The Perfect Storm," which came out 11 years ago. And yet when each new Clooney movie comes out, there's this general concern that Clooney has somehow lost his commercial mojo. I don't think that's accurate. Instead, I think he's a good actor and a celebrity fixation who occasionally has been in really big movies.

This isn't to say that Clooney is some capital-A artist who's only interested in the furthering of the cinematic art. The guy probably wants hits as much as the next A-lister. But for far too long box-office watchers have monitored his films as if they're tentpoles. Probably the most striking example was 2007's "Michael Clayton," which contains one of his very best performances. Because the reviews were so good, because he'd just had success with "Ocean's Thirteen" and because he'd recently won a Best Supporting Oscar actor for "Syriana," there was an expectation that "Michael Clayton" was going to be a huge movie. And then it wasn't, even though it earned seven Oscar nominations, including ones for Best Picture and Best Actor. Nonetheless, "Michael Clayton's" underwhelming commercial performance inspired people to wonder if Clooney's marquee value had slipped, rather than recognizing this was a moody character-driven piece that should never have been considered a potential smash in the first place. Folks thought it was going to be a star-driven action-thriller, and that's not what it was. Why blame Clooney for that?

That's been his predicament ever since. He does a great film like "The American," which very much parades its European art-house trappings like a badge of honor, and people who just want to see Clooney shoot guns get frustrated. He turns in a wonderfully nuanced performance in "Up in the Air," an early 2009 Oscar favorite, and then folks seem unhappy when it only grosses about $84 million: Isn't Clooney a big star?More and more, it seems like he is and he isn't. He is in that he can help open a movie or get it green-lit. He is in that he's a beloved industry figure who has five Oscar nominations -- three for acting, one for writing, one for directing -- under his belt. But he isn't in the way that folks like Johnny Depp or Will Smith or Tom Cruise are, in which just about every project they do is constructed to bring in as much money as humanly possible. How can people look at "The Men Who Stare at Goats" or "The American" and think that that's the thought process going on inside Clooney? If it was, he'd be the star of "Real Steel."

Of course, the guy's had his flops. "Leatherheads" sunk like a stone. Despite being released over Thanksgiving weekend, "Solaris" made a shockingly small amount of money. And while "The Ides of March" is the sort of adult-skewing film that usually has decent legs, it hasn't started off strongly.

But rather than wringing our hands each time one of his movies underperforms, maybe it's time to consider a new normal for Clooney. He may have that star power that translates to Oscar attention and worldwide fame, but he's not a box office star. He's not that kind of actor, unless he happens to do another "Ocean's" film. But he doesn't seem particularly interested in being that kind of star -- if he had been, he wouldn't have walked away from "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." You can question the guy's creative choices -- I'm more than happy to have that conversation -- but it's probably time to retire the notion that Clooney is somehow supposed to be our brightest Hollywood A-list star. That's a good thing; it acknowledges that he doesn't just want to make mindless blockbusters and that he's interested in pursuing different projects no matter their commercial value. There are a lot of big names who are happy doing "Real Steel." Personally, I'm really grateful there's at least one who isn't.

Katiedot
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Re: George Clooney isn't a box office star and that's fine

Post by lolo"layla" on Sat Oct 15 2011, 10:48

i liked it , thank u for posting

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Re: George Clooney isn't a box office star and that's fine

Post by Dexterdidit on Sat Oct 15 2011, 11:13

George wants to make the movies he wants too and the majority of them aren't blockbuster types. I'm sure he is happy doing it his way Sony may expect a little more as studios prefer the bucks! Thanks for posting it.

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Re: George Clooney isn't a box office star and that's fine

Post by pattygirl on Sat Oct 15 2011, 14:35

Great article. Told it as it is. A positive, not negative article.

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Re: George Clooney isn't a box office star and that's fine

Post by lelacorb on Sat Oct 15 2011, 14:44

Runs many ads to earn money and who knows how to make films that do not gain much at the box office but are the films that he likes to do.
He will not be remembered as a sample collection, but as an actor and director involved.

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Re: George Clooney isn't a box office star and that's fine

Post by pattygirl on Sat Oct 15 2011, 15:35

He has said that he does the ads, as well as commercially successful movies, in order to earn the money to do "the kind of movies" that he wants. Yes, he will be remembered as an involved actor and director, and that is how he wants it.

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Re: George Clooney isn't a box office star and that's fine

Post by cindigirl on Sat Oct 15 2011, 15:38

Yes, he is very passionate about his work. Does anyone know how Ides did on the second week? Remember The American did very well on the first weekend and then fizzled.

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Re: George Clooney isn't a box office star and that's fine

Post by melbert on Sat Oct 15 2011, 16:18

I haven't heard how the week went, but we'll see tomorrow how the projected 2nd weekend is going. C'mon George, you've got staying power - you can do it!!!!!

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Re: George Clooney isn't a box office star and that's fine

Post by it's me on Sat Oct 15 2011, 16:55

can you please give us some box office links?
thanks Very Happy

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Re: George Clooney isn't a box office star and that's fine

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