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Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart ON THE ROAD vs. Walter Salles' Road Movies, COSMOPOLIS

On the Road Movie Garrett HedlundOn the Road vs. Walter Salles' The Motorcycle Diaries, Central Station; David Cronenberg / Robert Pattinson's Cosmopolis

[See previous article: "Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart On the Road Disappoints at Box Office."] Distributed by Focus Features, Walter Salles' Spanish-language The Motorcycle Diaries, featuring Gael García Bernal, Rodrigo de la Serna, and Breaking Dawn Part 2's Mia Maestro, debuted with $159,819 at three North American locations in late September 2004, averaging a remarkable $53,273 per site (approx. $68,100 adjusted for inflation). The Motorcycle Diaries went on to gross $16.78 million in the U.S. and Canada, in addition to $40.88 million internationally. (Photo: Garrett Hedlund as Sal Paradise, On the Road.)

And back in 1998, the Portuguese-language Central Station, starring eventual Best Actress Academy Award nominee Fernanda Montenegro, averaged $17,854 (approx. $30,200 adjusted) at two locations. Distributed by Sony Pictures Classics, Central Station cumed at $5.59 million in North America.

Another comparison: like On the Road, an "automobile-set," stream-of-consciousness 2012 Cannes Film Festival entry that received mixed reviews in the U.S., David Cronenberg's Cosmopolis debuted in the United States (via Entertainment One) last August. Starring Kristen Stewart's fellow Twilight actor Robert Pattinson, on its first weekend out Cosmopolis raked in $70,339 at three locations, averaging a respectable $23,446 per venue. The film's initial bow was likely helped by the Rupert Sanders / Kristen Stewart / Robert Pattinson to-do that in late summer kept the U.S. media in a state of frenzy for weeks.

However, after its solid start, Cosmopolis' per-theater average plummeted to a meager $2,453 following a minor expansion on weekend no. 2. The Cronenberg / Pattinson collaboration ultimately cumed with a highly disappointing $763,556 in North America (including Canada, where the movie was released in the spring).

According to figures — probably incomplete — found at Box Office Mojo, On the Road has collected $8.37 million internationally. Its top markets are France with $2.7 million, Brazil with $1.53 million, Italy with $1.13 million, and the UK with $934k. Brazil's relatively good showing can partly be explained by the fact that Walter Salles is a renowned filmmaker in his home country, while Kristen Stewart has a huge following there as well. On the Road's budget was a reported $25m; IFC Films acquired it for an amount "in the low seven figures." [Addendum: On the Road opened in France at the time of the Cannes Film Festival.]

IFC Films at the domestic box office

Something else worth noting is that IFC-distributed movies haven't been faring very well at all at the North American box office. The most successful IFC release in 2012 is Mike Birbiglia and Seth Barrish's Sleepwalk with Me, which collected a grand total of $2.26 million, after opening with (an impressive) $68,801 at one New York City location in late August. In fact, IFC movies are generally prestigious entries that may find long lives in the home-video market, but at the box office their overall performance has ranged from the very modest to the downright disastrous.

And finally, surely not helping matters for On the Road were wildly mixed reviews. For instance, Walter Salles' film has a mediocre 44 percent approval rating and 5.9/10 average among Rotten Tomatoes' top critics.

On the Road will reportedly reach more theaters on January 18, eight days after the 2013 Academy Award nominations are announced. (The Oscar nods were to have been announced on January 15; the Academy later moved the date forward to Jan. 10.) However, despite Kristen Stewart's visibility at various functions, at this stage it doesn't seem very likely that the film will be found in many — or even any — Oscar categories. (See also: "On the Road to become another The Motorcycle Diaries?")

Garrett Hedlund, Sam Riley, Kristen Stewart topline On the Road cast

Besides the aforementioned Garrett Hedlund as Dean Moriarty, Sam Riley as Jack Kerouac's alter ego Sal Paradise, and Kristen Stewart as Mary Lou, On the Road features Viggo Mortensen, Amy Adams, Kirsten Dunst, Elisabeth Moss, Tom Sturridge, Alice Braga, Danny Morgan, Steve Buscemi, and Terrence Howard.

Garrett Hedlund as Sal Paradise, On the Road photo: IFC Films.

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Originally posted: Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart ON THE ROAD vs. Walter Salles' Road Movies, COSMOPOLIS ()

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51 Comments to Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart ON THE ROAD vs. Walter Salles' Road Movies, COSMOPOLIS

  1. Elizabeth

    I did not want to know about on the road, I wanted to know about Cosmopolis. Mr. David Cronenburg is a Brilliant Director. The cast did a magnificent job of bring these characters to life. The producers etc. were spot on. I am very sorry about the Gay Actor dying without recognition; but I wanted to know why Cosmopolis was not considered for awards.

  2. Marina

    Why are people freaking out about this? I liked Cosmopolis. It's a good movie, but it's not really a "mainstream" movie. The scandal probably did help it. I like both Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson and I don't see anything wrong with saying that?

  3. ro

    In Italy Cosmopolis was n°3 for the opening week at the box office (273 screenings, € 1.212 average), against Man in Black 3 (opening that week too with 2.4 times screenings) and Dark Shadows (in its third week); "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" (opening the same week too but with half the screenings Cosmopolis had, € 1.498 average ) was n°7. And French (and that I know of UK too) box office numbers are usually higher than italian ones, it's not surprising to me. Considering the mixed reviews, Cosmopolis did ok in my book. In 2011 "A dangerous method" opened here a couple of weeks after Venice with 121 screenings and an average of €3.624, but with better reviews.

    Were you talking about solid box office numbers? I thought we were talking about factors influencing box office numbers for limited releases.
    And again, "On the road" wasn't released in major european markets after Cannes, and european releases don't affect the award buzz in the US. Many critics over here agree that the most talked about movies during festivals should be released not long after these festivals. I still think it should have opened in the US in september after TIFF, it could have benefitted of your beloved scandal too. IFC presented Stewart as a possible candidate for a nomination, it doesn't mean it was actually into consideration.
    And again, how do you explain the fact that the opening numbers for "Cosmopolis" in the US were lower than those of , say, "A dangerous Method"(opening over there in 4 screenings with $41,988 average on november 23rd, two months after the Venice film festival)? We agree, award buzz is stronger in nov/dec, but around Christmas time it's also one of the most lucrative times for movies, hence it's filled with too much competition for a small movie that got tepid/mixed reviews. Release during this time makes your movie face the harsher comparison with better regarded movies too.
    Again, everybody heard about "On the road" way more than about "Cosmopolis".

    What is relevant to you?
    Popularity of the source material is irrelevant.
    Good reviews or receptions at film festivals don't weight in when it comes to the expectations for awards?Numerous screenings in LA and NY and industry events don't make it clear if members of SAG, AMPAS etc…had the chance to see a movie.
    Length of promotional tour, competition and amount of press coverage don't either.
    But if people went or not to see "Cosmopolis" because they wanted to see how Pattinson would have handled the “situation” is relevant? Really, people are that stupid in your opinion? For that people watched the appereances on TV, certainly not a Cronenberg movie.
    Another thing to consider in your examination of scandals history: “Cleopatra”, “Husbands and wifes” and “Mr & Mrs Smith” all featured the COUPLE involved in a scandal. This fact wasn't the reason people's curiosity increased? That's irrelevant for you, too, I guess?
    A scandal helped “Cosmopolis” in the US (while having the worst opening for a Cronenberg movie in the US in the last years), but facts like 1)“On the road” being the movie adaptation of one of the most famous American novels and 2)strong of a heavy promo and the release of a Twilight movie a month before (that is still out in some theaters) are irrelevant.
    OK. I'm out, too.

  4. Andre

    @ro

    You're absolutely right. "Cosmopolis" opened in Italy in late May. I must have looked at the "On the Road" release date instead. Sorry. Anyhow, considering that Cannes is much talked about in Italy, it's surprising that "Cosmopolis" didn't fare better at the Italian box office. One would have expected the film to have matched its box-office gross in France — or at least gotten close to it.

    You shouldn't be surprised I agreed with @MarkG. You should also have read my last reply to you more carefully. Here:

    "True, scandals alone aren't enough to guarantee a box-office hit, but they *are* more than enough to guarantee initial interest in a film — especially those that otherwise would have gone all but unnoticed except by ardent fans of the performer/director in question."
    ———–
    "Cosmopolis" had a solid opening. It plummeted after that. Bad movie? Bad Robert Pattinson? Bad David Cronenberg? Of course that's not what I'm saying. There are other factors at work and the only way to find out why the movie's per-theater average plummeted is, really, to interview Cronenberg / Pattinson fans (living in the urban centers where the film was playing) to discover why they decided NOT to pay $10 or $12 to watch the film.

    Yes, of course smaller movies are seen by movie fans. Of course festival screenings do help smaller movies get some buzz. But is that enough for solid box-office grosses? If so, shouldn't Sundance movies be released in North America at the time of the Sundance Film Festival? Berlin movies at the time of the Berlin Film Festival? Cannes movies at the time of the Cannes Film Festival? Toronto movies at the time of the Toronto Film Festival? If they aren't, it's because the buzz is much stronger around Nov./Dec., awards-season / Oscar season time. It makes sense to release a Cannes movie in France or Italy in May or June. It makes sense to release a potential Oscar contender — even if for Best Screenplay or Best Cinematography or, gasp, Best Supporting Actress (Kristen Stewart, you've heard of her…) — late in the year in North America. Ask the distributors of "Slumdog Millionaire" and other potential awards-season entries, from "Rust and Bone" to "The Impossible."

    And please, read my article before complaining. There are lots of comparisons to other movies, including to Walter Salles' two previous road movies. The (possible) reasons for "On the Road's" success in Brazil are provided as well. Just added the info about "On the Road" opening in France at the time of the Cannes Film Festival.

    The "scandal" may have affected the lives and loves of only the Twilight crowd. But *everybody* heard about it. No one from Alaska to New Zealand could have escaped the media furor that went on for a whole month — right when "Cosmopolis" opened. An assurance of long-lasting success? Of course not. An assurance of bigger first-weekend interest? Definitely.

    I wasn't going to continue the discussion — as I said before, we'll have to agree to disagree, and I'll be writing an article about this topic in the next few days. But since I had to apologize for getting the wrong "Cosmopolis" opening date in Italy, I went ahead and responded to your other comments. But enough. Let's agree to disagree on this.

  5. Andre

    @ro

    I'm not @Liz, but one suggestion: When looking at Rotten Tomatoes' score, *always* use the Top Critics score and *always* check out the averages. Those (to a certain extent, of course) reflect the likes and dislikes of the more influential news publications and websites. Among RT's top critics, "Cosmopolis" has a 50% score / 5.7/10 average (28 reviews); "On the Road" has a 42% score; 5.9/10 average (19 reviews).

  6. Andre

    @Campbell,

    If numbers don't improve for "On the Road," there's certainly a good chance that IFC Films' planned expansion will be curtailed — or stalled. As in, no further (real) expansions. As was the case with "Cosmopolis," what would happen is that they drop one theater in NY, while adding another in San Francisco. The following weekend they drop that one, and add one in Boston. And so on.

  7. Andre

    @RLiving

    Trust me, NO credit is given to the public at large. Box-office flops / disappointments can — and often are — *great* movies. Box-office hits, on the other hand…
    And please note that we *only* use Rotten Tomatoes' **Top Critics** score. Those are almost always from top websites / news publications.

    I'm sorry, but I don't know about what's happening with Roger Ebert. I do hope he'll be able to resume his writing.

  8. Liz

    @ Lena

    1. OTR is included in many lists, even though it's not at the top.
    2. I don't understand how you could consider Scott a joke. You may not like him personally but he isn't the lead awards analyst for the Hollywood Reporter for nothing.
    3. Cosmopolis didn't get "stellar reviews" at Cannes. Were you around at that time? Some people liked it and some people didn't as shown by the reviews.

  9. RLiving

    No offense to your research & analysis about box office numbers & critics' opinions – I do like the way you stick to FACTS in your blog – but both OTR & Cosmopolis will always have a limited audience because both stay true to the underlying material and the directors' visions. Let's not give the "general public" too much credit for being discerning viewers. As for critics, find one or two who give you consistently good recommendations – (you & Ebert come to mind) – & don't read Rotten Tomatoes reviews (they're written by those same idiots that you work/go to school with!)

    (By the way, do you think Roger Ebert will be able to return to work after his hip fracture? Or perhaps his wife will carry on? Thanks for any info.)

  10. Campbell

    First of all I don't see a problem with the comparison. Both movie budgets are $20 Million or more and both had star studded screenings at Cannes in May. On The Road also had the benefit of a highly- publicized premiere at TIFF. Yet both movies ended up with highly disappointing box office totals..domestic and foreign.

    In terms of Cosmopolis, a David Cronenberg movie which earns less than $1 Million in the US and Canada is a huge disappointment no matter how divisive the subject matter. Cosmopolis received much more press than the usual Cronenberg fare too. Although Cosmopolis topping several influential critics year-end lists could spell good news for Robert Pattinson's attempts at a post-Twilight career and Cosmopolis' potential to expand on the home video platform.

    The bulk of On The Road's extensive media campaign happened in NY/LA so the numbers should have been at least decent but they aren't. I'm sure a rotten score on Rotten Tomatoes and so-so Metacritic didn't help. I can't say there was a lack of advertising because of newspaper ads, multiple screenings, and interviews on late night. Kristen Stewart's participation guaranteed that it received more attention than most independent movies.

    People simply didn't show up for On The Road. My question is will expansion be cancelled if the numbers remain this low? AMPAS aren't going to magically nominate On The Road when it has been missing everywhere else. It's astonishing to me that a movie which has been in development for over 30 years by Francis Ford Coppola and is based on one of the most popular American books of the last century opened to such middling numbers . I'm not seeing On The Road on any year end lists either.

    I think some in the arthouse community dismissed both Cosmopolis and On The Road early because of the Twilight stars. I would say the totals would be the same or possibly even better if they were not involved, so I don't believe a scandal benefited either film.

  11. ro

    @Liz
    How do you explain "Cosmopolis" is 65% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes while "On the road" is 46% rotten. "Cosmopolis" has 58/100 on Metacritic, "On the road" has 53/100. The number of reviews considered for this percentages are higher for "Cosmopolis" in both cases.

  12. ro

    Wrong, you wrote it yourself in a previous reply, "Cosmopolis" opened in Italy back on May 25th and is out on DVD now. "On the road" opened in october here. And you're right, you wrote "Cosmopolis" did decent numbers in FRANCE because of Cannes, my bad.
    Cannes is one of the three biggest film festival in Europe (quite possibly the biggest for media attention), Cannes buzz is big in other European countries beside France, like Italy, but "On the road" was released in markets like UK, Germany, Denmark, Ireland and Italy in october, it will be released in Spain next february and I can't find info for the release in other European countries (that's why I simply wrote Europe, without the patience and time necessary to write all this down). And no, you didn't simply write "Europe is not a monolitic block" repling to me. You wrote "Europe is much bigger than just France and Italy. I mean, you must have studied geography in school (??)"

    I checked Mark G's comments. But I'm surprised you'd agree, we're not talking about wide release movies, or big budget movies here. "Cosmopolis" was no "Cleopatra" or "Mr and Mrs. Smith". Festivals don't help sell tickets for smaller movies, but scandals do? Aren't smaller movies seen mainly by movie fans, who actually waste a little time reading reviews and following film festivals news? How come other Cronenberg movies in limited release faired better in the US, yet "Cosmopolis" with Pattinson and with the "help" of the scandal, did worse numbers?
    Why there's no comparison between "On the road" and another more popular Salles's movie, like "The Motorcycle Diaries"? It had a limited release in the US too. Why choosing "Cosmopolis"? Because it had a Twilight actor too? 90% of "Cosmopolis" frames have Pattinson in it, Stewart has a supporting role in "On the road", they don't have the same impact on their respective movie.

    The public interest for a movie like "On the road" was greater than for "Cosmopolis", yet they drew in similar numbers, and that's not telling of something going wrong with "On the road"? "On the road" having a way longer promo tour "that totally made up any little attention the scandal may have brought to Cosmopolis) is irrelevant?
    The number of locations a movie is shown at doesn't affect the final box-office numbers (that you mentioned in your article)? Wouldn't that info (or the fact that "On the road" opened in France right after Cannes, just like Cosmoplis) give more means to judge the movie performances in France, Italy and Brazil? [Those infos about "On the road" number of screenings are avaible on its IMdb page].

    –"What DID make a difference were the mixed-to-poor notices. That dramatically hindered the film's chances for success. And the lack of awards-season recognition. Thus, those who went to see it were Kristen Stewart, Garrett Hedlund, Walter Salles fans. Not sure if fans of the novel would have been that interested, considering most of the reviews."– Agreed, and some of that goes for "Cosmopolis" too.
    The couriosity and attention for that scandal was limited, it affected mostly Twilight fans (only a handful of which go and see other Stewart or Pattinson movies). Most people didn't care about Pattinson and Stewart, they're not Pitt&Jolie or Taylor&Burton. And that curiosity was spent with the online leaked version of both movies and with the tv appeareances of the two actors. We'ne no longer in the sixties or early 2000s. Scandals = more attention =/= more tickets sold. It's not that simple.
    Premieres and screening for "On the road" aren't long past, the general public was well aware of its release.
    You didn't actually read my comments, and again you go with veiled insults. I got that IFC hoped for award recognition, and I explained that IFC expecting it for On the road wasn't justified by the reviews the movie got, so IMO the late release was a bad move.

  13. Connan

    I'm not going to lie – I was disappointed with such soft OTR opening. There was so much buzz, so many screenings, so much anticipation – but, I guess, it wasn't enough to generate an avalanche of interest from general public.

    The long wait of this movie also contributed to eventual lack of interest. Also, I'm totally puzzled by the choice of locations this movie is getting distribution to. I understand that initial ”test” number of theaters is small, what I don't get – how they getting selected for potential second/third/etc… screenings. I live in Boston area and the only theater where (in February!) fans could watch this movie is located in Berkshire county(!!), tiny-mini town 135 miles from Boston. We have number of indie theaters here – in Cambridge, West Newton, Brookline with great selection of small indie or foreign movies – and they are not included into list. Mystery. Nobody will drive 2 hours in winter time to watch it.
    Critics slaughtering of this movie didn't help BO obviously either, that's why I never read any reviews before watching movie which picked up my interest (plot, actors involved, etc…).
    Garret, Sam and Kristen performances are so captivating in OTR (from leaked scenes what I could see so far) that OTR should be watched at least because of them, especially Kristen – she expanded her acting range dramatically, exiting her comfort zone and delivering breathtaking performance.

    Now, about theorizing and debating how THE “scandal” might have affected BO of both Cosmo and OTR. About Cosmo (JMHO of course) – there is no second opinion needed.
    After the scandal all the sympathy FLOWS worldwide for Rob. “Coincidentally”, right in time for Cosmopolis premiere. EVERYONE feels badly for him and many tune in to watch just out of morbid curiosity to see how he'll handle the “situation”. And Cosmopolis is bigger than expected. YES – he was great no doubt and the film fantastic but who would have paid attention to this indie film but fans? OTR – different scenario, time passed, nothing is forgotten yet, but everyone tired of it, momentum is lost. It's a pity that this movie didn't get attention it deserves.

    I must admit, I'm not fan of the book but I'm fan of Kristen/Garret/Sam team. So, looks like DVD or VOD are the only options left.

  14. Lena

    @Liz
    Even with all the 789653214 screenings where Kstew showed up almost naked, no one cares about OTR, it isn't be considering for any award, and please give me a break with Scott F, this guy is a joke. Cosmopolis had received stellar reviews in Cannes and figure in various lists (Les Cahiers du cinémà, ThePlaylist, Love Film, etc)as one of the best films of the year, capice?

  15. Liz

    @tina

    Like you said, OTR premiered at many more place than Cosmopolis did, so the latter didn't get as many reviews as OTR did. Critics and people such as Scott Feinberg said "You and I usually are on the same page, but I think that COSMOPOLIS was the worst movie that I saw in 2012. And I saw BATTLESHIP. " I like Cosmopolis but at least OTR is being considered for awards, as far down the lists as it may be. You just don't like Kristen Stewart.

  16. tina

    Cosmopolis is way way better than OTR, see RT and critic praise. OTR premiere in Cannes, TIFF, AFI and numerous screening and pimping of KS to get an award nomination , but no one cares about OTR. face it. Trying to compare Cosmopolis to OTR is laughable

  17. Andre

    @ro

    I didn't assume you were an American. Alt Film Guide gets visitors from all over the world, and we're in contact with them on Twitter and Facebook and on the site itself on a daily basis. *You* used the word "Europe"; I simply said, Europe isn't a monolithic block — like many, whether in Europe or elsewhere, seem to think it is.

    And you misread my comment: True, I said "Cosmopolis" did so-so business in Italy, but not *because* of Cannes. [Correction: "Cosmopolis" opened in Italy in late May, not in October as I had earlier in this comment. My response here was due to a misreading of @ro's previous comment.]

    Here's the paragraph:
    "Cannes buzz is infinitely bigger in France — for obvious reasons — than in North America. That's why “On the Road” (and “Cosmopolis”) did better over there. The reasons “On the Road” did better in Brazil are clearly explained in the article. Elsewhere, it did so-so/mediocre business, including in Italy, where it's no. 105 for 2012 (according to Box Office Mojo, it opened there in Oct.) — or performed downright poorly."

    Why didn't I write that "On the Road" opened in 225 locations in Italy or 357 in France? Because it's irrelevant. (Also, I didn't have that info at hand.) "Cosmopolis" opened in France in early June, right after Cannes. Does it matter if it opened at 10 locations and then expanded to 300? Or if it opened at 300? What matters is how the film performed — per-theater average — whether at 10 locations or 300. If a film does well in limited/platform release, more theaters are added. If it doesn't, the expansion is either very small or nonexistent (as was the case with "Cosmopolis" in North America). The future of "On the Road" in North America remains unclear. It depends, I believe, on how the film is going to perform this week, up to the weekend after New Year's. If per-theater averages remain flat (or drop), there will be only a minor expansion. If they get better, there should be a (probably slightly) wider expansion.

    Scandals don't sell movie tickets? Check out @Mark G.'s comments. And do a little research in film/box-office history. You'll then see how *dead wrong* you are. True, scandals alone aren't enough to guarantee a box-office hit, but they *are* more than enough to guarantee initial interest in a film — especially those that otherwise would have gone all but unnoticed except by ardent fans of the performer/director in question. @Mark G.'s comments, in fact, have given me an idea for a future post.

    As for "On the Road" getting a December release … Is it so hard to understand that they were *expecting* some awards recognition? It hasn't happened so far, and probably won't. But they were *expecting* it. Hence, the December release. What's so incomprehensible about their strategy?

    Cannes and TIFF are long in the past. So is the scandal. Could "On the Road" have done worse without any of those, and the release of "Breaking Dawn Part 2"? Possibly. Perhaps it wouldn't have made a difference. What DID make a difference were the mixed-to-poor notices. That dramatically hindered the film's chances for success. And the lack of awards-season recognition. Thus, those who went to see it were Kristen Stewart, Garrett Hedlund, Walter Salles fans. Not sure if fans of the novel would have been that interested, considering most of the reviews.

    Now, if you don't agree with my statements — and the only way to prove or disprove them would be to interview those who went to see "On the Road" last weekend — I think we should just agree to disagree on them.
    Having said that, I may use this long discussion as the basis for a future post as well. That should be interesting.

  18. ro

    @Mark G
    Then why deny or omit that the same scandal may have helped this movie (you know, Stewart's first appearance after the scandal was at TIFF for On the road) and the release of the last Twilight movie a month before? Maybe On the road would have done worse than this without those things.

  19. ro

    @Andre
    LOL, I'm Italian (you're another American assuming the internet is populated by only americans I guess) and I didn't write Cannes or TIFF help sell the tickets, but they get you coverage and pubblicity in Europe or in the US. Please, re-read my comments. And you were the one who wrote "Cosmopolis" did so-so at the box office in Italy only because of Cannes.
    "Why didn't you wrote that "On the road" opened in 225 screenings in Italy? Or that it opened right after Cannes in France with 357 screenings?
    By the way, scandals don't sell movie tickets either. As festivals do, it can get you attention, but that attention does not always benefit the box-office. You really think that people saw Pattinson in TV after the scandal and rushed to the movie theaters blindly, without checking out reviews or the synopsis beforehand? Come on. We're not talking about a movie like "Avengers" or "Thor".
    Did I write that all Palme d'Or winners go on to get STRONG award buzz? No, I wrote that the release of "Amour" later, during award season, is more justified than the late release of "On the road", that movie already got awards and critical acclaim, that "On the road" didn't have.
    People did hear about "On the road" anywhere they turned: Cannes, TIFF, the scandal, the Twilight movie promotional tour, the endless screenings in nov/dec that landed Stewart on gossip magazines etc… Why does nobody say that On the road could have done worse than this had it not been for that scandal and the relase of the twilight movie?

  20. anna

    Kristen Stewart will get an Oscar one of these days. Maybe next year. Maybe for LIE DOWN IN DARKNESS. Mark my words.

  21. merry mary

    Rob and Cosmopolis has nothing to do with Kristen on the road.
    Two different roads in two different movies. totaly different. they go on different directoins. east is west in one. west is east in another. why not go south? holy motors. ho ho ho Merry Chrismas!

  22. Mark G.

    The Richard Burton-Elizabeth Taylor scandal helped CLEOPATRA at the box office. The Woody Allen-Mia Farrow scandal helped HUSBANDS AND WIVES at the box office. The Brad Pitt-Angelina Jolie scandal helped MR. & MRS. SMITH at the box office.
    But the Kristen Stewart-Rupert Sanders-Robert Pattinson scandal didn't help COSMOPOLIS when it opened in August. Robert Pattinson's first public appearance. On the Jon Stewart TV show.
    No? That didn't help? No? No? No?
    Those rabid Twilight fans are so delusional it's pathetic.
    I've read that Robert Pattinson tries to keep his distance from them. He's smart.
    If I were Kristen Stewart I'd do the same.

  23. MyLeOr

    Why do people get so touchy when the scandal is mentioned? Should all pretend it never happened? He's not making a big deal out of it, gossiping and such. He is making a point about it. If you agree or not, that's fine. But to say move on and let's pretend it never happened, never affected their lives or careers or the box office of their films is ridiculous. I don't know if the scandal helped Cosmopolis, but maybe it did. The producers should have done more to promote the film in the United States. One scandal wasn't enough. Maybe enough for one weekend, but that movie needed more.

  24. Regine

    Am I a genius or are most people really dim?
    The comparison between On the Road and Cosmopolis makes total sense: indie movies shown at Cannes distributed by small company in US with respected directors and cast and each starring a Twilight star.
    What's so hard to understand about this?
    Maybe your problem is that you don't like the comparison. But that's your problem, not the author of this story.

  25. Lisa

    Still not understanding the comparison of the two,films and can we all please stop writing and talking about the scandal … Move on please
    I am stocked that on the road will be coming to atlanta!

  26. Andre

    @Mardell,

    Thanks for the comment. Gotta say, however, that I disagree re: "Bel Ami." I liked the film — flawed but overall quite watchable — and I found Robert Pattinson *excellent* in it. (I'm aware that most critics would agree with you, not with me.)

  27. Andre

    @ro

    Double lol: Do you know how many freaking Palme d'Or winners have gone on to earn strong Oscar buzz in the U.S.?
    In the last 15 years, three titles: "The Pianist" (2002), "The White Ribbon" (2009), and "The Tree of Life" (2012). That's it. Two of those are English-language films made by filmmakers with the word "Hollywood" attached to them (at least for part of their careers).

    Michael Haneke's name and the prestige attached to the film's veteran cast led to the Oscar buzz for "Amour." Else, "Amour" would have gone the way of fellow recent Palme d'Or winner "Uncle Boonmee," who, though able to recall his past lives, was all but ignored during awards season (and by North American movie audiences).

    Whether you're talking about "On the Road" or "Cosmopolis" or some other movie, Europe is much bigger than just France and Italy. I mean, you must have studied geography in school. Europe isn't a monolithic block. What's successful in one country may bomb in another. In fact, Cannes doesn't sell tickets in most territories. What's more, do you think "they" have control over when "On the Road" gets distributed? Who are "they"? "On the Road" was distributed by different entities, with different agendas, in different markets. There's no one "they."

    TIFF is important for awards-season buzz, that's true. But it's NOT crucial for audience awareness. The Oscar buzz *itself* is. Film people follow Toronto; regular moviegoers don't. *Everyone* (well, most everyone) follows — or at least is aware of — Oscar buzz. And that grows stronger in early December, when U.S.-based critics groups such as NY and LA start handing out awards. That's why so many movies with Oscar aspirations are getting/got late November/December releases. That should be obvious. "On the Road" is no exception. Anyhow, competition in Oct./Nov. would have been fierce as well — and without the advantage of the potentially box-office boosting holiday season. Check out the box-office figures for Marion Cotillard's Oscar-buzzed Cannes entry "Rust and Bone." It's hardly a major hit in North America.

    Now, get real. "Amour" did better than "On the Road" on opening weekend because of strong reviews / strong Oscar buzz / and lots of critics awards. That's *obvious*. "Cosmopolis" was released at the height of the Kristen Stewart / Rupert Sanders scandal. It's absurd not to see the connection. Had "On the Road" been released then, it would have benefited as well, even though Kristen Stewart was getting relentlessly attacked. But for the box-office, that doesn't matter. What matters is that more people would have heard of "On the Road" everywhere they turned.

    So it's ludicrous to say "On the Road," released months after the scandal, was "helped way more" than a movie released at a time when Robert Pattinson was making his first post-scandal public appearances — so as to promote the David Cronenberg film. And think about it: had the scandal still been a factor this late in the game, "Breaking Dawn Part 2" would have become the highest-grossing Twilight movie ever at the domestic box office. That's not the case. At all.

  28. ro

    Lol, "Amour" win the freaking Palme d'Or at Cannes, it was obvious they'd try to get award buzz in America too and release it during award season.
    On the road has/had nowhere as close as critical acclaim as "Amour".
    You say "Cosmopolis" did so-so in Italy and France and only because of Cannes, that's another reason that should convince you they should have released the movie right after Cannes in Europe and after TIFF in the US (this is usually the complain of some critics I follow: movies that participate in festival are then usually released too late to benefit from it). Cosmopolis was scheduled to come out in Europe in december 2012, but they changed their mind, and for the best apparently. Wasn't On the road scheduled to come out earlier in the US too? Plus isn't TIFF widely covered in the US?
    In your words: “Amour is hardly an audience-friendly flick” yet it did better than “On the road” on opening weekend in the US (with 0 big mainstream names). “Cosmopolis” is hardly an audience friendly flick too, and it did better on opening weekend in The US. “Amour” has awards and critical acclaim, Cosmopolis had Cannes, On the road lost the Cannes and TIFF train and is 46% rotten (if you claim the scandal helped Cosmopolis, it helped way more On the road, because since august the movie has benn mentioned in every single article about Stewart and in 90% of her interviews).

  29. Mardell

    I have to agree with the writer of this article, the kristen stewart circus this past summer must have helped Cosmopolis promo. At least it made me, who love film and watch a lot of films, discover Robert Pattinson who I had never seen in a film before. Same goes for Kristen Stewart. I decided to check out a few of their respective smaller films in a show of support, just because the scandal made me feel sorry for two such young actors having their personal life exposed in the media like thatand was very impressed with Stewart in Speak and Into the wild, although not as impressed as I was with Pattinson in Little Ashes, How to be and Remember me. Tried to watch Bel Ami also but to me he really sucks in that for some reason. Anyway, My point being, I was unaware of both Stewart and Pattinson pre-scandal so I do find it logical that Cosmopolis was helped by the scandal, esp considering the intensity with witch Pattinson's fans seem to support him.

  30. Andre

    @Amy,

    Thank you for your thoughtful insights.

  31. Amy

    I think a lot of things contributed to the soft opening. Firstly, the long wait and the mixed reviews. People were anxious to see it until it was bad-mouthed by some Cannes critics, then the anticipation waned. Secondly, Kristen Stewart is a double-edged sword. She has a huge fanbase and they're not all teenagers as some seem to think. They came out to support her at screenings and even at the premiere. There were so many screenings that I think that most people who went to see her in NY and L.A. already saw it, some multiple times. However, she also has her detractors and people who refuse to see a movie with her in it. In conjunction with that, some Kerouac fans feel that the cast is too Hollywood and that goes against the spirit of the book, although I think that Kerouac would've approved of the entire cast, particularly Kristen Stewart. She's about as non-Hollywood as an international movie star can get. Thirdly, fans who probably won't travel hours or fly to other countries to see Kristen for 15-20 minutes will buy a DVD and some did buy the French version. Some fans put that DVD up to be streamed and many fans have already seen the pirated movie, unfortunately. Fourthly, the awards buzz for Garrett and Kristen didn't pay off in any nominations, like you said. There are people who felt the attention was one-sided towards Kristen and left Garrett out and they resented that, although IFC did everything for Garrett that they did for Kristen. Kristen is just the more widely known star, so they used her to promote the movie. Lastly, the locations where the movie is playing for the January release are very disappointing for the fans who were eager and willing to see the movie in the theater. Most people are going to have to travel at least 2 hours to see it, or it's not playing in their area at all, and many Kristen Stewart fans are not willing to do that for such a small part. Some fans don't like the book enough to camp out, like they did for the Twilight movies and I guess the other stars in the movie aren't compelling enough to them to take the trek. So, I think a lot of factors contributed to the low box-office. However, I think it'll do fantastic on DVD and VOD, once it's available.

  32. Andre

    @ro

    Cannes buzz is infinitely bigger in France — for obvious reasons — than in North America. That's why "On the Road" (and "Cosmopolis") did better over there. The reasons "On the Road" did better in Brazil are clearly explained in the article. Elsewhere, it did so-so/mediocre business, including in Italy, where it's no. 105 for 2012 [correction: it opened in Italy in May 2012, not Oct.] — or performed downright poorly.

    Opening "On the Road" in North America as near to Oscar time as possible was a good move. Another reason for the Dec. 21 opening day: "On the Road" now has about ten days of "holiday season" to generate extra business — Christmas and New Year's falling on a Tuesday should mean more people off work on Monday and better Sunday attendance. Whether that'll happen is unclear, but it makes perfect sense that they would have *expected* it to happen. That's also why "Amour" — another Cannes entry — opened the same day as "On the Road." The key difference, of course, is that the hopes for Oscar buzz for "Amour" have actually paid off. Now, admittedly, it remains unclear whether or not the Academy's recent decision to move forward the deadline for the Oscar ballots negatively impacted late-year releases.

    @Anna

    You got your facts wrong. "Cosmopolis" didn't do "its best in foreign markets." "Cosmopolis" performed relatively well in France, where it opened right around the time of the Cannes Film Festival. That's it. In Italy, where it also opened in May, it did just so-so — it's no. 119 for the year, with a little over $1m, and a notch below "Chernobyl Diaries" and a notch above "Silent Hill: Revelation 3D" amd about $100k below "On the Road." Elsewhere, "Cosmopolis" bombed, too, including Canada, where it opened B.t.S. (Before the Scandal). Your comments about both "On the Road" and the use of Kristen Stewart to push it were just as off the mark.

  33. jojo

    i read the article, and still don't see the comparison. they don't star the same stars, they aren't made by the same people, they weren't funded by the same people. they both priemered at cannes and have car scenes. so did holy motors. why not throw that in there as well? so other then the fact pattinson and stewart date there is nothing these two films share.

  34. ro

    I never said I expected On the road to be a hit, I did expect it to do better than this and better than "Cosmopolis" since opening weekend, no matter the time frame of the release, tough. I'm saying that it could have done BETTER than this had it opened earlier, when there was still a little buzz after TIFF or Cannes. I've read many complaints about the fact that it's been too long of a promo tour too.
    How do you explain the fact that in other countries (where it was released earlier) the movie did better then? Isn't "On the road" considered one of the classic American novels? I didn't expect other countries to appreciate it more looking at the box office. How come Cosmopolis drew the same numbers in france and Italy, despite being more astruse and unpopular? I saw more promotion for "On the road" than I've seen for "Cosmopolis", too. Plus that the scandal YOU mentioned in the article helped promote "On the road", in my opinion.
    And critical acclaim doesn't automatically translate to good box office earnings. If IFC chose this time to release the movie only to try and get award buzz, considering the reviews that came out of Cannes and TIFF and the fact that this is one of the busiest and most competition-filled time of the year to release a movie, it was a bad choice IMO.

  35. Anna

    How can you say the scandal helped Cosmopolis and in the same breath say it did poorly in North America? Yes, Cosmo did its best in foreign markets, but it was released there BEFORE the scandal. In North America, where it was released AFTER the scandal, it had a strong opening and then the numbers went down dramatically. That's not exactly surprising for a hard-to-sell indie. I went to see it in a very small obscure theater in NY, where it screened for TWO weeks. The Cronenberg fans, the Pattinson fans and people who were anticipating it saw it on opening day, resulting in high numbers. That's not exactly surprising, is it? OtR IS a more popular and loved book, Salles is a director that is much easier to swallow, and the supporting cast was filled with more household names than Cosmopolis. Not to mention all the promo and paid for buzz. OtR should have done much, much better. The scandal didn't hurt it. The fact that Kristen Stewart became the selling point did. No one took her seriously as an actress and now everyone knew the kind of person she was. The scandal only added about 10% to OtR's already ensured failure.

  36. Andre

    @ro

    "On the Road" wouldn't necessarily have been a hit had it opened right after Cannes — much like "Cosmopolis" bombed in Canada, even though it opened there in the spring.

    "On the Road" is hardly a commercial movie. Not as out there as "Cosmopolis," but certainly not at all like a mainstream flick. So, IMO my comparison holds.

    And yes, you can compare how movies fared even though they opened at different times of the year — as long as you take that into account and include that information in your piece. Which I did.

    "On the Road" would have fared much better had it gotten stronger awards-season buzz from critics groups. I'm sure IFC Films was betting on some critical love for their film and/or stars, but that didn't happen. They tried. "On the Road" opened at an appropriate time.

    Having said that … it's unclear whether or not IFC Films made screeners widely available to critics, SAG voters, etc. That can make a huge difference on who gets in and who doesn't.

  37. Andre

    @gg

    No. Because she wore cool shades.

  38. gg

    Screw had a small role, still she is proclaimed the Star of this Movie, why, because she took off her clothes?

  39. ro

    @Andre
    Pattinson & Stewart are not among the biggest names in the industry, please and LOL! and I'm saying this as a person who has enjoyed some of the movies Pattinson's been in.
    "On the road" has more big names that "Cosmopolis". "On the road" is a more popular book than "Cosmopolis", more people were interested in a movie adaptantion of that book, why didn't they go see this movie then???? "On the road" is more known, obviously more people would have been interested in going to see it. It doesn't seem so far streched to me, but it's quite logical.
    Cosmopolis is a wierd movie and after seeing it there's no chance for me to believe that it could have done better. Can you honestly say the same for "On the road"? You're comparing how very different movies did at the box office at different times of the year and in different circumstances, hence your statements don't hold. Can you honestly say that "On the road" couldn't do better if it was released right after Cannes or TIFF?
    Again, the scandal didn't help "Cosmopolis" at all, the movie did fine in spite of it! Pattinson's image got a big blow, while some people thought of the poor guy who was cheated on, the rest of the world was laughing at him and at the crazy twilight fans who freaked out. It robbed him of the chance to detach himself from that awful movie saga, it shifted the attention away from the US promo for Cosmopolis, all people wanted to see was his reaction to the scandal.
    You can't ignore that. Your conclusion is a simplistic and superficial way to see things, IMO.
    I stand by my opinion that choosing "Cosmopolis" for a box office comparison is scorrect. You could have chosen other indies, closer to "On the road" for this comparison. I did read about the comparison with other movies, I was referring to the inclusion of Cosmopolis in this comparison.

  40. Andre

    Dear jen,

    Stating *public* facts is not the same thing as "knocking down" someone or something.

    Did I ever mention "Cosmopolis" in "Best of 2012" lists? Well, here's one article about one of the most important of such lists:

    http://www.altfg.com/blog/movie/top-ten-movies-holy-motors-cosmopolis/

    The "On the Road" promo was certainly bigger than the one for "Cosmpolis" — though all eyes were on Robert Pattinson when he made those two key television appearances back in August. Hey, and I remember Pattinson and David Cronenberg going to Wall Street, too…

    http://www.altfg.com/blog/movie/robert-pattinson-nyse-cosmopolis/

    Also, bear in mind that Kristen Stewart's Governors Ball, Oscar Roundtables and Q&A appearances meant precious little to the public at large. TV ads, however, make a HUGE difference. How many were there for "On the Road"?

    And finally, I wasn't "praising" "On the Road" in this box-office piece. I was stating facts. And not very positive ones, either. I can't begin to understand how anyone could see those box-office facts as "praise." As for comparisons, those are *always* necessary when you're discussing something like box-office figures. That's called: Providing Context. Else, figures are *meaningless*.

    Ah, something else: Robert Pattinson is one my favorite performers. He's charming, unaffected, capable. In my view, he deserves much more credit for his acting abilities than he has gotten so far. And I was personally very disappointed that "Bel Ami" and "Cosmopolis" performed so poorly at the North American box office.

    There. I said it. Now, call me biased. Tell me I have a pro-Robert Pattinson bias.

  41. Andre

    @lory,

    I know very little about the private lives of Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, but I'm glad I'm not the only one who saw the scandal as something that clearly, obviously, blatantly helped "Cosmopolis" — at least right when it came out. People who had never heard of the film, suddenly became aware it existed. How could that *not* have helped?

    Thanks for writing.

  42. Andre

    @ro

    Can we agree that both "Cosmpolis" and "On the Road" were screened at Cannes, that they have "stream-of-consciousness" narratives, that they have well-respected directors and supporting players, that they received mixed reviews in North America, and that they star two of the biggest names in the business (i.e., Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson)?

    Oh, but none of that matters. What matters is that "On the Road" is a better known book than "Cosmopolis." Oh.

    "You couldn't find more recently released indie movies to compare?"

    You couldn't have read the two-part piece before coming up with a baseless complaint?

  43. jen

    Dear Andre, no matter how much you want to try to knock down Rob or Cosmopolis both keep getting mega year end and tops so many "Best of 2012" lists. (did you ever mention about that?..)
    On the Road promo was huge. You can't even compare with the Cosmo.
    Endless screenings with main stars (+ with the support huge names like Coppola. sure it got lots of attention)
    four major premieres, (NYC, AFI Fest,TIFF,Cannes) studios's award campaign. Governors Ball, Variety Oscars Round Table, Q&A events, talk shows,Mags, etc etc.
    I'm not a kristen stewart hater. Not at all. If you want to write about her positively, go ahead. but… sure there is a way to praise one movie without put down another or pit/compare them…
    I used to come here, but your dislike for a few Rob fans starting to affect your Rob articles. Sad.
    You're a biased. no matter how much you're pretend that you're not.

  44. lory

    If people
    can't handle the truth ..well,Hollywood life is the perfect place for their unnecessary complaints . "the scandal" was a BIG help to promote Cosmopolis and pattinson's image .The aspect of timing was perfect ."the poor guy deserve a better girl in his life ","robpattz is the better man on this planet .."and extreme fans showed their support watching cosmopolis -to the point of exhaustion- .I don't blame their actions,because I remember a Robert pattinson's interview on tv when he invited his fans to buy 8 tickets per person -in the meantime-Jon Stewart offered him some ice cream ."the scandal"was a big unnecessary drama ,but pattinson and his team know how to handle the situation in such a way that it works to their benefit .of course Stewart is like the sacrificial lamb . conclusion :Pattinson and Stewart are back together ,this is the best proof that the 'scandal' were no so relevant in their real lifes with exception of business.

  45. ro

    What kind of comparison is this? This is the kind of article that makes people like me not take Pattinson or Stewart seriously.
    How can you compare "Cosmopolis" to "On the road"?
    1) Cosmopolis came out in august, not during holiday season.
    2)That lame scandal didn't help at all Cosmopolis: that is not a movie that Twilight fans would see, and they didn't, and many Cronenberg's fans, already put off by the casting of Pattinson, ran in the opposite direction after that. If that scandal helped at all, it helped "On the road".
    3)Can we agree that "Cosmopolis" was and still is a way less popular book than "On the road"?
    4) Isn't a movie like "Cosmopolis" less accessible than "On the road"? That didn't play a role as well? Come on.
    5)Cosmopolis came out 3 months BEFORE that Breaking Dawn movie, "On the road" a little more than a month LATER. That gave "On the Road" more exposure, it had an AFI premiere a week before the twilight movie, plus Hedlund and Stewart were "campaining" for a nomination for any award, the movie had more pubblicity than your avarage indie.
    6) Cosmopolis came out in France and Italy right after Cannes, and drew in the same numbers as "On the Road", which is surprising since, again, "On the road" is generally way more popular than the other. Maybe IFC should have released the movie sooner.
    7)"On the road" debuted in may in Cannes, and has been out for months in other countries. Sorry, but most people who wanted to see it saw it online.
    You couldn't find more recently released indie movies to compare?

  46. Andre

    @jojo

    >>>>what do these two films have to do with other.?

    You didn't read the article? Check it out. Then you'll Understand.

  47. Andre

    @know so little:

    a) "On the Road" hasn't "flopped."
    b) If you think "Holy Motors" has as much in common with "On the Road" as "Cosmopolis" does, you might want to get yourself better informed about "On the Road," "Cosmopolis," and "Holy Motors."

  48. Andre

    @Clara

    Actually, if there's any bias showing, that's your own. You should be ashamed.

    After all, if you believe the scandal didn't help to raise awareness for "Cosmopolis" — right at the time the movie came out — you don't live on Planet Earth. Maybe in some other galaxy people go to movies because of arthouse filmmakers, stellar supporting casts, and Cannes reviews. But not on this planet.

    Think about it: "On the Road's" supporting cast has three Oscar nominees. The movie also boasts the renowned director of the Oscar-nominated "Central Station." In addition to an Oscar-winning executive producer named Francis Ford Coppola. Heard of him? Despite all that — and one of the biggest names in Hollywood at the moment (Kristen Stewart, heard of her?) — "On the Road" had a soft North American debut.

    And remember, Robert Pattinson, David Cronenberg, Juliette Binoche, Paul Giamatti or no, "Cosmopolis" was NOT a success at the North American box office. Far from it. It had a solid opening weekend. That's what's stated in the article. And that's a fact.

    If you want to fool yourself, that's your call. Go back to Hollywood Life (and *please* stay there).

  49. Clara

    You should be embarrassed to call yourself a film blogger. You're honestly going to credit Cosmopolis' success with the media storm created after Miss Stewarts affair? Not that it was a Cronenberg movie? Not that it starred one of the biggest names in Hollywood at the moment? Not that it had stellar reviews at Cannes? Not that it had a supporting cast of Oscar winners/nominees? Your bias is showing sir and you should be ashamed. Talk about film on your film blog, not gossip. I won't be visiting your site again. I can get this info from Hollywood Life.

  50. know

    Comparison is unnecessary OTR flopped and that's it, why not compare it with holy motors?

  51. jojo

    what do these two films have to do with other.?other then having the the two main stars from them dating….nothing. why not throw in all the other indies into it as well. are you going to be comparing brad pitt and angelina jolie films as now too?




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