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'Jack Reacher': Tom Cruise Flops Or…?

Tom Cruise 'Jack Reacher' movie: Box office flop?

Jan. 3 update: Tom Cruise plays vigilante Jack Reacher in the concisely titled Jack Reacher, Paramount Pictures' film adaptation of Lee Child's novel One Shot. The Usual Suspects' Oscar-winning screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie directed.

Things didn't start out very well, as some highly vocal fans of the Jack Reacher books – there are 17 of them (books, not fans) – were irked when it was announced that the 5'7” Cruise would be playing the 6'5” Reacher. (More on this earth-shattering outrage further below.)

Not helping matters were the adult-oriented thriller's mediocre reviews: 41 percent approval rating and 5.5/10 average among Rotten Tomatoes' top critics.

Distributor Paramount cautiously said it expected Jack Reacher to earn – a highly unimpressive $12–$15 million at 3,352 North American locations over the Dec. 21–23 weekend. This would have been a weak debut for any wide release, but especially for a high concept thriller toplining Tom Cruise – he of blockbusters such as Top Gun, Rain Man, A Few Good Men, The Firm, Jerry Maguire, War of the Worlds, and the myriad Mission: Impossible movies.

'Jack Reacher' likely not to launch new franchise

Things began looking a little brighter when early estimates released Friday night (Dec. 21) indicated that Cruise's latest star vehicle would easily exceed Paramount's expectations, raking in around $18 million by Sunday evening. Things looked quite a bit dimmer when, as found at boxofficemojo.com, Jack Reacher ended up taking in $15.21 million.

This past weekend (Dec. 28–30), Jack Reacher brought in $13.6 million, for a grand total of $44.15 million after ten days.

A total flop? Not so fast. A hit? Definitely not. After all, there's no chance Jack Reacher will reach (no bad pun intended) the $100 million mark at the U.S. and Canada box office. As a consequence, there's no chance it'll manage to recover its $60 million budget (not including marketing and distribution expenses) at the domestic box office.

In other words, unless Jack Reacher become a major international hit – not an impossibility (more on that further below) – don't expect it to become the first installment of a new cinematic franchise.

'Jack Reacher' vs. recent Tom Cruise movies

For comparison's sake: While taking into account its box office-boosting high-profile sequel status, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, the fourth installment in Tom Cruise's Mission: Impossible franchise, scored $12.78 million at only 425 locations on its debut weekend in mid-December 2011. MI4 averaged $30,083 per theater.

Bryan Singer's Valkyrie – co-written by Jack Reacher's director McQuarrie – would be a more adequate comparison. Distributed by United Artists, the 75 million-budgeted World War II drama, which was neither a sequel nor an adaptation of a popular novel, opened with $21.02 million on Christmas Day 2008, eventually collecting $83.07 million at the domestic box office and $200.27 million worldwide.

Jack Reacher will most likely follow a much more modest trajectory.

Comparisons to the box office flop Rock of Ages would be pointless, as it wasn't a Tom Cruise star vehicle. What's more, in all likelihood the only reason Adam Shankman's critically lambasted musical eventually cumed at $38.15 million domestically was because of people curious to see Cruise as a long-haired rock-and-roller.

Tom Cruise's height a box office problem for 'Jack Reacher'?

Now, complaints about Tom Cruise being too short to play Jack Reacher – and remarks that Cruise's height would somehow affect Jack Reacher's box office prospects – are inane at best.

So, Tom Cruise would be an inappropriate, box office-unfriendly Jack Reacher because of his height? Well, how about Peter O'Toole (6'3”) playing T.E. Lawrence (5'5”) in that old, multiple-Oscar-winning movie Lawrence of Arabia, one of the biggest blockbusters in film history?

How exactly did Taylor Lautner's height (supposedly 5'10”) interfere with his playing the 6'7” Jacob Black in the various Twilight movies? Would New Moon and Eclipse have earned an extra $100 million each had Lautner been a foot taller?

Ironically, the next T.E. Lawrence will reportedly be played by Lautner's Twilight Saga co-star Robert Pattinson (6'1”).

And let's not forget that Tom Cruise was widely ridiculed when it was announced he was going to play the lead in Neil Jordan's 1994 film version of Anne Rice's Interview with a Vampire. That Cruise movie ended up grossing $105.26 million (not adjusted for inflation) in North America.

Tom Cruise: International megastar

In the U.S., the Scientologist Tom Cruise is still struggling to restore his image following a barrage of relentlessly mean-spirited attacks in the American media in the last six years or so.

But Scientology or no, 5'7” or 6'7”, Tom Cruise remains a huge star internationally. Rock of Ages – not truly a “Tom Cruise movie” – may have bombed outside North America, but Mission: Impossible III, a relative disappointment in the U.S. and Canada ($134.02 million), earned $263.82 million internationally.

Also, the Robert Redford-directed Lions for Lambs earned three times more internationally ($48.21 million) than in North America ($15 million), while Valkyrie grossed $117.19 million abroad vs. $83.07 million on the domestic front.

Nearly 71 percent of the worldwide box office gross of Knight and Day – $185.5 million – came from outside North America while the international percentage for Mission: Impossible IV - Ghost Protocol was nearly 70 percent: $485.31 million.

In other words: whatever happens at the U.S. and Canada box office, expect Jack Reacher to perform much better elsewhere, as international moviegoers apparently care about watching Tom Cruise in action, whether playing a midget or a giant, and regardless of his religious or philosophical beliefs.

'Jack Reacher' cast

In addition to Tom Cruise in the title role, Jack Reacher features:

Rosamund Pike. Nicole Forester. Michael Raymond-James. Jai Courtney.

David Oyelowo. Joseph Sikora. Dylan Kussman. David Whalen.

Veteran filmmaker Werner Herzog (Aguirre the Wrath of God, Fitzcarraldo).

Best Actor Oscar nominee Richard Jenkins (The Visitor, 2008).

Best Actor Oscar winner Robert Duvall (Tender Mercies, 1983).

'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' finally passes $200 million domestic cume

Dec. 29 update: Peter Jackson's $150 million-budgeted The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has – finally – passed the $200 million milestone at the North American box office on Dec. 28. Its cume stands at $200.32 million on Day 15.

For comparison's sake: Not adjusted for inflation and without the advantage of box-office-inflating 3D surcharges, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King reached $200 million on Day 11; The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers on Day 12; and The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring on Day 19.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey features:

Martin Freeman. Ian McKellen. Cate Blanchett. Orlando Bloom. Ian Holm. Elijah Wood. Richard Armitage.

See also: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey box office blockbuster and disappointment mix

Bette Midler-Billy Crystal movie surprises

Also worth noting, on the Dec. 28–30 weekend Andy Fickman's comedy Parental Guidance, starring two-time Best Actress Oscar nominee Bette Midler (The Rose, 1979; For the Boys, 1991) and Billy Crystal, raked in a surprising $14.55 million from 3,358 venues.

That's hardly a fantastic figure, but as the sole reasonably successful comedy this season, the Midler-Crystal pairing will likely go on performing above expectations.

Limited/Platform releases (Dec. 28–30): Juan Antonio Bayona's The Impossible, toplining Naomi Watts, is performing just (barely) okay at 15 theaters: $185,576 over the weekend.

David Chase's Not Fade Away, featuring James Gandolfini, took in an anemic $54,795 at 19 locations. Curiously, IFC/Sundance Selects figures for Walter Salles' On the Road, starring Garrett Hedlund, Sam Riley, and Kristen Stewart, have not been made available.

'Les Misérables' & 'Django Unchained' overperform on Christmas Day

Dec. 26 update*: Fantasy, violence, or music? Directed by Academy Award winner Tom Hooper (The King's Speech, 2010), Les Misérables opened strongly on Christmas Day in North America – $18.11 million at 2,808 locations – far surpassing distributor Universal's (official) expectations of around $10 million.

True, studios tend of underestimate the opening-weekend/opening-day gross of their films – for obvious reasons – but this is a bit much. Anyhow, whether such an impressive figure for a nearly three-hour musical will hold in the coming days remains to be seen, as pre-sales accounted for a major percentage of the tickets sold on Christmas Day.

As a plus, Quentin Tarantino's violent Django Unchained, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz, and Jamie Foxx, opened with better than expected figures. The R-rated, Western/slavery tale reached $15.01 million at 3,010 venues – a Christmas Day record for an R-rated release.

Controversies because of the film's language and violence have spurred interest in Tarantino's film – Spike Lee sure has done his bit – much like the torture controversy helped to propel Kathryn Bigelow's thriller Zero Dark Thirty to unexpected box office heights (in limited release) last week.

* In early January 2013, initial studio estimates were replaced by box office actuals.

'Django Unchained' & 'Les Misérables' cast info

Django Unchained features:

Leonardo DiCaprio. Christoph Waltz. Jamie Foxx. Kerry Washington. Dennis Christopher. Don Johnson. James Remar. Amber Tamblyn.

Samuel L. Jackson. Russ Tamblyn. Bruce Dern. Walton Goggins. David Steen. Franco Nero. James Russo. Jonah Hill.

Les Misérables features:

Hugh Jackman. Anne Hathaway. Russell Crowe. Eddie Redmayne. Amanda Seyfried.

Sacha Baron Cohen. Helena Bonham Carter. Aaron Tveit. Samantha Barks.

Based on Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schönberg, and Jean-Marc Natel's stage musical adaptation of Victor Hugo's classic 1862 novel, Les Misérables 2012 was written for the screen by William Nicholson.

See also: Early Les Misérables reviews.

Good news for The Weinstein Company

The success of Django Unchained is good news for The Weinstein Company, which has suffered a series of flops/disappointments in recent weeks (box office cumes as of Dec. 23):

  • Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master, with $15.93 million.
    Cast: Joaquin Phoenix. Philip Seymour Hoffman. Amy Adams.
  • The Andrew Dominik-Brad Pitt bomb Killing Them Softly, with $14.73 million. Dominik's crime drama had the worst domestic debut of any Brad Pitt movie in wide release.
    Cast: Brad Pitt. Ray Liotta. James Gandolfini. Richard Jenkins.
  • To a lesser extent, David O. Russell's Silver Linings Playbook, with $19.86 million.
    Cast: Bradley Cooper. Jennifer Lawrence. Robert De Niro. Jacki Weaver.

Judd Apatow comedy 'This Is 40' flops

Dec. 24 update: Judd Apatow's R-rated, $35 million-budgeted This Is 40 performed quite a bit worse than Tom Cruise's PG-13-rated Jack Reacher on the Dec. 21–23 weekend.

At 2,912 sites, the comedy starring Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann pulled in $11.57 million, or a paltry $3,976 per site.

Also in the This Is 40 cast, including star cameos:

Jason Segel. Annie Mumolo. Megan Fox. Charlyne Yi. Chris O'Dowd. Lena Dunham. Tom Everett.

Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominee Albert Brooks (Broadcast News, 1987).

Two-time Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominee John Lithgow (The World According to Garp, 1982; Terms of Endearment, 1983).

Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominee Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids, 2011).

Best Supporting Actress Oscar winner Tatum O'Neal (Paper Moon, 1973).

Barbra Streisand comeback 'The Guilt Trip' bombs

The Guilt Trip star Barbra Streisand should have been a shoo-in for the Golden Globes in the Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical category. When Streisand failed to get nominated – despite a promo snafu claiming that she had been – it seemed clear that something was dead wrong with the Anne Fletcher-directed mother-son road movie comedy co-starring Seth Rogen.

Perhaps it's a mere coincidence – totally unrelated to the Golden Globes, that is – but The Guilt Trip reviews have been generally pretty mediocre. Notwithstanding the presence of one of cinema's (and pop culture's) iconic figures of the late 20th century, Paramount's $40 million production has a 48 percent approval rating and 5.9/10 average among Rotten Tomatoes' top critics.

Unable to crack even the $10 million mark, The Guilt Trip ended up grossing a measly $7.32 million at 2,431 North American locations over the course of its first five days out (Dec. 19–23) – $5.29 million of which over the weekend (Fri.–Sun.). Its weekend per-theater average was an embarrassing $2,176.

Barbra Streisand: 1970s box office magnet

Barbra Streisand used to be a box office magnet in her heyday in the 1970s, a time when she was the only woman to be consistently found among Hollywood's top box office draws.

Whether watchable (The Way We Were, For Pete's Sake), less-than-watchable (Funny Lady), or unwatchable (A Star Is Born, The Main Event), her movies were nearly all major box office hits. (Vincente Minnelli's costly musical On a Clear Day You Can See Forever and Irvin Kershner's unusual, little-remembered Up the Sandbox were the two exceptions.)

Here are a couple of examples: A Star Is Born (1976) and The Main Event (1979) took in, respectively, $80 million and $42.8 million. That would translate into approximately $300 million and $135 million in 2012 dollars.

The Guilt Trip will be very lucky if its reaches $30 million.

Highly successful semi-retirement

Apart from one major box office misfire – Jean-Claude Tramont's 1981 romantic comedy-drama All Night Long (which actually stars Gene Hackman) – Barbra Streisand's sporadic film appearances since her 1970s heyday have all been remarkably successful.

These have ranged from showy leads (Yentl, Nuts, The Mirror Has Two Faces, and to a lesser extent the Oscar-nominated The Prince of Tides) to unworthy supporting roles (Meet the Fockers, Little Fockers).

So it's more than a little shocking that The Guilt Trip, the two-time Oscar winner's* first movie lead since The Mirror Has Two Faces back in 1996, has been received so unenthusiastically by movie audiences.

One possibility is that they've been unaware The Guilt Trip even exists, as the buzz surrounding Streisand's “movie star comeback” has been surprisingly muted.

Who knows, maybe Paramount, having neither forgiven nor forgotten On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, has decided it should instead spend its marketing moolah on Tom Cruise's Jack Reacher.

* Barbra Streisand's two Academy Award wins: as Best Actress for Funny Girl (1968; she tied with Katharine Hepburn for The Lion in Winter) and as composer (with lyricist Paul Williams) for the song “Evergreen” from A Star Is Born.

'The Guilt Trip' cast

Besides Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen, The Guilt Trip features:

Adam Scott. Colin Hanks. Kathy Najimy. Dale Dickey. Miriam Margolyes. Brandon Keener. Brett Cullen. Ari Graynor.

Dan Fogelman (Cars, Cars 2, Tangled, Bolt, and the live-action Crazy, Stupid, Love) wrote the screenplay.

'Breaking Dawn - Part 2' gone from Top Ten

Dec. 22: Starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner, Bill Condon's The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 was gone from the Top Ten box office chart on Friday, Dec. 21, its 36th day out – a common occurrence among Twilight movies as a result of competition from Christmas releases.

Besides Tom Cruise's Jack Reacher, new entries include a couple of underperformers, This Is 40 and The Guilt Trip, and the 3D rerelease of Monsters, Inc. – which, with a disgraceful $2.87 million in three days, puts into question the wisdom of Disney's 3D rereleases, even though figures should improve on the weekend proper.

Now at no. 11, the fifth and final installment in the Twilight Saga franchise collected 761,511 at 2,000 theaters, right behind new entry Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away.

Total to date: a remarkable – but paradoxically, disappointing (see below) – $279.76 million.

'Breaking Dawn - Part 2' vs. previous 'Twilight' movies

For comparison's sake: last year, Condon's Breaking Dawn - Part 1 was gone from the Top Ten on Day 36 as well; its cume at that time was a more modest $269.47 million.

An early summer 2010 release, David Slade's Eclipse was gone from the Top Ten on Day 38, after tumbling down to the no. 10 spot on Day 31 and remaining there for a week. Eclipse's cume on Day 36 was $290.18 million (approx. $292 million adjusted for inflation), or quite a bit ahead of Breaking Dawn - Part 2.

In late December 2009, Chris Weitz's New Moon was also gone from the Top Ten on Day 36, though it resurfaced for a few days at no. 10 in the last weekend of December. New Moon's cume on Day 36 was $278.58 million – way ahead of Breaking Dawn - Part 2 once inflation is factored in: approx. $295 million.

Curiously, the most successful Twilight Saga movie (in ticket sales), New Moon belongs solely to Kristen Stewart. After all, Robert Pattinson is gone from much of the film, while Taylor Lautner is basically nowhere to be found in the prologue/epilogue.

In December 2008, Catherine Hardwicke's Twilight (which stars only Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson) disappeared from the domestic Top Ten chart on Day 35, though it resurfaced for a few days in late December and then again in early January 2009. Twilight's cume on Day 36 was $164.18 million (or about $181.5 million today).

Strong international box office

Even though New Moon shall remain the top Twilight movie at the domestic box office, Breaking Dawn - Part 2 (not taking into account currency fluctuations) is the undisputable champ internationally: $501.4 million outside the U.S. and Canada, for a worldwide total of $781.17 million. The $800 million milestone is definitely within reach.

Breaking Dawn - Part 2's top international markets are the following:

  • The United Kingdom with $55.68 million.
  • Brazil with $47.13 million.
  • Russia/CIS with $42.66 million.
  • France with $36.2 million.
  • Germany with $33.89 million.
  • Australia with $28.9 million.
  • Mexico with $28.36 million.
  • Spain with $27.95 million.
  • Italy with $24.06 million.

Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner lead Breaking Dawn - Part 2 pack

Besides Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner, Breaking Dawn - Part 2 also features:

Kellan Lutz. Elizabeth Reaser. Dakota Fanning. Ashley Greene. Nikki Reed. Peter Facinelli.

Jackson Rathbone. Michael Sheen. Lee Pace. Booboo Stewart. Rami Malek.

Melissa Rosenberg adapted Stephenie Meyer's fourth and final Twilight novel.


Tom Cruise Jack Reacher movie photo: Karen Ballard / Paramount Pictures.

Ian McKellen The Hobbit movie photo: Warner Bros.

Hugh Jackman Les Misérables photo: Working Title / Universal Pictures.

Kristen Stewart photo: Andrew Cooper / Summit Entertainment.

Barbra Streisand The Guilt Trip photo: Paramount Pictures.

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12 Comments to 'Jack Reacher': Tom Cruise Flops Or…?

  1. Paul

    The Guilt Trip has made back its money and now it's coming on DVD. So it will make a little bit more. Far from a blockbuster, but it's mad the money back.

  2. Janette Lapore

    Unfortunately it was really bad. I would have to say the worst movie I've ever seen Streisand play. She acted as if she was a woman who wasn't in full charge of her faculties and that really disturbed me. Is this how older women are to be portrayed now when they reach their 60's? I see Meryl Streep playing very strong women and simply being the best actress in my entire lifetime. She's amazing. This was absolutely disappointing and I felt sorry for that character she played. She was weak,she was dingy, she wasn't funny because they deleted all the scenes that were in the trailer. That was strange. Not one single scene from the trailers were in the movies. How awful.. I was just disappointed as hell because they built it up and I felt like it was money so wasted. Don't waste your time. It was terrilbe, very predictable and not funny in the least. Basically it sucked!!

  3. Daisy Kenyon

    Yeah, I guess over performing is what you would want!

  4. lil

    This saga is all about Perfect Edward and his perfect love for Bella.That's the reason the most important person was actor who will play Edward role.When Rob was casted fans of the books were angry,because they thought he is not good/beautiful enough to play Edward.The fans sent petition to the Summit Studio to fire Rob.Nobody sent petition to fire Kristen,because nobody care who will play Bella(so Freda is totally right,every young actress could play Bella).Twilight was so successful because Robert has portrayed his role perfectly,he was excellent choise from Summit producers and Cathrine Hardwicke.So Twilight was good and accepted by fans so New Moon was very anticipated movie, that's the reason it was so successful at box office.

  5. carter

    Moneyball had a 50 million budget and made 114 worldwide, why is that considered a success?

  6. altfilmguide


    Has it crossed your mind that there was no petition to fire Kristen Stewart because fans were apparently happy with the casting?

  7. Freda Ericssen

    Twilight Saga is a chick flick, and it's always been about boys' rivalry. It doesn't matter who plays Bella - Kristen Stewart or Emily Browning - the focus has always been on Team Edward vs. Team Jacob.

  8. altfilmguide

    Is “Moneyball” considered a box-office success? Brad Pitt or no, it certainly bombed outside North America…

  9. altfilmguide

    @chanda w.

    Not defending the anti-Taylor Lautner / Twilight prejudice — but “Abduction” didn't “make money” *at the box office* once you realize that besides its $35m budget, there were marketing / distribution costs that could easily have totaled another $15m-$25m (or more) worldwide. Since (as a rule of thumb) studios / producers get about 50% of a film's domestic gross and 40% of the international gross, then “Abduction” needed to earn at least $105-$115m worldwide to break even *at the box office* (not including ancillary revenues).

  10. chanda w.

    Abduction with Taylor Lautner made 82 million worldwide, but was considered a failure………how is that……when so many of the movies with established action stars seem to struggle and it's no big deal??? I don't understand how the movie industry was so hard on …then teenage Lautner……and his movie actually made money??

  11. chanda w.

    New Moon was the full introduction of Taylor Lautner and the wolf pack. Taylor and his abs were a big part of New Moon's success. Amnesia much???

  12. DJ

    The physicality of Reacher was a huge component of his character in the books; Cruise's casting just doesn't jive with my mental image; this stark contrast in images is what has essentially contaminated my enjoyment of the series; the financial success of the movie is great but is not going to 'convince' me otherwise; how many of those ticket purchasers were avid Reacher book buyers and readers - that is what I would be more interested to know;