Rock of Ages movie: Tom Cruise / Stacee Jaxx
Rock of Ages opened with a poor — especially for a "Tom Cruise movie" — $5.8 million (down from $7 million estimate a few hours ago) at 3,470 locations in North America on Friday. Faring even worse is the latest Adam Sandler comedy, the R-rated That's My Boy, co-starring Andy Samberg, which is expected to take in only $5 million at 3,030 venues on Friday.
Initially, Rock of Ages was to have ended the weekend somewhere between $17m-$21m. As per Deadline.com, that's down to a paltry $15.5m. Also earlier today, The Hollywood Reporter had the musical pegged between $19m-$21m. Some box office prognosticators had been expecting Rock of Ages would open between $25m-$30m.
Directed by Hairspray / Cheaper by the Dozen 2's Adam Shankman, who also co-produced the 2010 Oscar telecast, Rock of Ages has a mediocre 45 percent approval rating among Rotten Tomatoes' top critics and a 5.3/10 average. Sample reviewer quote: "This is a movie you'll never be able to un-see, so think carefully…" (Peter Canavese at Groucho Reviews.)
Box office: Rock of Ages vs. Hairspray, Mamma Mia!, Rent
Regarding Rock of Ages' box office, for comparison's sake: Shankman's Hairspray, an adaptation of another Broadway musical, opened with $27.47 million at 3,121 theaters in 2007. Featuring John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer, Zac Efron, James Marsden, and Nikki Blonsky, Hairspray went on to gross $118.87 million in North America and $83.67 million abroad.
Directed by The Iron Lady's Phyllida Lloyd, and starring Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan, and Dominic Cooper, Mamma Mia! opened with $27.75 million at 2,976 locations in 2008. The $52m-budgeted ABBA-ish musical went on to earn $144.13 million in North America and an astounding $465.71 million internationally.
Another comparison: Chris Columbus' Rent, featuring a little-known cast, was considerably less lucky than Hairspray and Mammia Mia!, but wasn't that much worse off than the more high-profile Rock of Ages. The 40m-budgeted Rent opened with $10.01 million at 2,433 locations in 2005, cuming at a paltry $29.07 million in the U.S. and Canada, in addition to a dismal $2.59 million overseas. For the record, Rock of Ages cost a reported $75m.
Tom Cruise / Stacee Jaxx steals show
For better or for worse (it depends on who's reviewing it), Tom Cruise's veteran rocker Stacee Jaxx, steals the show in Rock of Ages. For comparison's sake: though not an actual "Tom Cruise movie" — 90210's Diego Boneta and Footloose's Julianne Hough play the romantic leads — Rock of Ages is chiefly being marketed on Tom Cruise / Stacee Jaxx's bare, tattooed shoulders. Yet, the film should open at a much lower level than two recent Tom Cruise star vehicles that performed "modestly" at the domestic box office: Valkyrie ($21.02 million in 2008) and Knight & Day ($20.13 million in 2010). (I have "modestly" between quotes because we're discussing Tom Cruise. Both movies would have been considered okay-to-good performers had they starred most anybody else.)
In addition to the aforementioned Tom Cruise, Diego Boneta, and Julianne Hough, Rock of Ages features Oscar winner Catherine Zeta-Jones (Chicago), 30 Rock's Alec Baldwin, Sideways' Paul Giamatti, Arthur's Russell Brand, Malin Akerman, Bryan Cranston, and Will Forte.
Rock of Ages / Tom Cruise as Stacee Jaxx picture: David James / Warner Bros.