Paul Rudd, though one of the most likable actors around, hasn't been very lucky at the North American box office. Admission, co-starring 30 Rock's Tina Fey, is Rudd's latest box office bomb, following James L. Brooks / Reese Witherspoon's How Do You Know ($30.21 million), Jesse Peretz's Our Idiot Brother ($24.81 million domestic), and David Wain / Jennifer Aniston's Wanderlust ($17.45 million), in addition to Judd Apatow's box office disappointment This Is 40 ($67.54m). (Photo: Paul Rudd Admission.)
Directed by Paul Weitz (About a Boy, In Good Company), the Paul Rudd-Tina Fey combo Admission took in $6.44 million at 2,160 U.S. and Canada locations this weekend, according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo. That's Paul Rudd's second worst wide-release debut (more than 1,000 theaters), behind -- or rather, ahead of -- only Jeff Lowell's comedy Over Her Dead Body, also featuring Lake Bell and Eva Longoria, which scored a paltry $4.02 million in February 2008.
Admission: Latest 2013 box office bomb
Adding insult to injury, early predictions had Admission grossing around $10m on its first weekend out. So, whereas both DreamWorks Animation's The Croods and Antoine Fuqua / Gerard Butler's Olympus Has Fallen way overperformed (if studio estimates are accurate), Admission way underperformed.
Budgeted at a quite modest $13 million, Admission will have trouble matching its production costs at the domestic box office -- let alone recovering them. Not to mention the amount distributor Focus Features spent to open the film, which could quite possibly add another $7-10m (or more) to its costs. Needless to say, international box office prospects are basically nil, as, except for Australia and the United Kingdom, neither Paul Rudd nor Tina Fey could be considered box office draws (however minor) outside the United States (and possibly English-speaking Canada).
Paul Rudd movies: box office
For instance, Paul Rudd's domestic box office hits The 40-Year-Old Virgin (actually starring Steve Carell) and Knocked Up performed much better in North America than elsewhere: $109.44 million vs. $67.92 million for the former comedy; $148.76 million vs. $70.3 million for the latter. Role Models, co-starring Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott, I Love You, Man, co-starring Jason Segel, and Dinner for Schmucks, co-starring Steve Carell, did okay business domestically: $67.29 million, $71.44 million, and $73.02 million respectively. Internationally, however, all three movies bombed: $25.08 million, $20.19 million, and $13.38m* respectively, with most (or nearly so) of each film's box office gross hailing from Australia and the UK. (* International figures for Dinner for Schmucks are incomplete.)
Hopefully, Paul Rudd will be able to redeem himself with one of the following upcoming movies: David Gordon Green's Prince Avalanche, co-starring Emile Hirsch, and winner of the Best Director Silver Bear at this year's Berlin Film Festival; Phil Morrison's Almost Christmas, co-starring Paul Giamatti and Sally Hawkins; Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen's apocalypse-partying comedy This Is the End, with Rudd playing himself; and David Wain's curiously titled They Came Together, featuring Rudd opposite The Avengers' Cobie Smulders. Can't say I have high hopes for Adam McKay's Anchorman: The Legend Continues, with Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, and Harrison Ford.
As for Tina Fey, Admission's domestic opening-weekend grosses are quite a come down from Date Night ($25.2 million), which paired her with Steve Carell [not Steve Martin...], and Baby Mama ($17.4 million), co-starring Amy Poehler. Clearly, Fey (and Poehler's) hosting of the 2013 Golden Globes ceremony is too far in the past to have made any impact at the Admission box office.
Besides Paul Rudd and Tina Fey, Admission features Wallace Shawn, Michael Sheen, Gloria Reuben, Lily Tomlin, and Dan Levy. Karen Croner is credited for the screenplay based on Jean Hanff Korelitz's novel.
Paul Rudd Admission photo: Focus Features.