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Justin Bieber 'Believe' Bombs + David O. Russell Movies Box Office

Justin Bieber BelieveJustin Bieber 'Believe' bombs

Justin Bieber 'Believe' bombs at North American box office

After opening with a dismal $1.25 million at 1,037 North American locations on Christmas Day, the Jon M. Chu-directed Justin Bieber documentary Believe grossed an estimated $2.014 million at no. 14 on the domestic box office chart this weekend, December 27-29, 2013, according to studio estimates found at Boxofficemojo.com. Believe's per-theater average was $1,942, while its five-day cume is an equally paltry $4.27 million. (Image: Justin Bieber in Believe.)

Distributed by Open Road Films, which reportedly spent a modest $5 million promoting the equally modestly budgeted documentary – cost: $4-5 million – Believe will likely disappear from view in the very near future.

Justin Bieber concert movies: 'Believe' vs. 'Never Say Never'

Now, comparisons to Justin Bieber's previous documentary / concert movie, also directed by Jon M. Chu, are tempting, but bear in mind that we're dealing with apples and bananas here. Distributed by a major studio, Paramount Pictures, the $13 million-budgeted, heavily marketed Justin Bieber: Never Say Never – sold as a “Justin Bieber biopic” – opened at 3,105 locations on a Friday, collecting a remarkable $29.51 million, or $9,505 per site, in early February 2011.

Note: Never Say Never's chief box office competitors on opening weekend were a trashy Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston comedy, Just Go with It, and the unenthusiastically received animated feature Gnomeo and Juliet. Also: Never Say Never had the box office-boosting advantage of 3D surcharges. Its marketing campaign cost a reported $20 million.

The cheaply marketed Believe, for its part, had Justin Bieber competing for teen and pre-teen box office dollars with Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Disney's Frozen, Will Ferrell's Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, Jennifer Lawrence's still strong The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – movies that cost between 8 and 30 times more than Bieber's concert film, and that were all heavily marketed.

Here are a couple of other comparisons: Katy Perry: All of Me, also distributed by Paramount and featuring “biographical” and behind-the-scenes sequences, opened with $7.13 million at 2,730 locations in July 2012. Distributed by Sony Pictures / TriStar, One Direction: This is Us debuted with $15.81 million at 2,735 locations last August.

Why has Justin Bieber flopped?

As usual, there's rampant – and, at least for now, baseless – speculation as to why Justin Bieber has flopped at the domestic box office. Could it be his graffiti antics? His driving habits? His tattoos? His spitting? His new hairdo? Are U.S. Moms taking their children to go see movies that better reflect Traditional American Family Values, like, American Hustle and The Wolf of Wall Street? Who the hell knows?

Let's not forget that it's hardly as if Justin Bieber's image was all saintly back in early 2011. For instance, around the time Justin Bieber: Never Say Never came out, Bieber was mouthing off about abortion and universal health care, the sort of stuff that would piss off millions of Moms, who would scratch their heads in sheer horror and wonder: “Is Justin Bieber a Communist?” or “Is Just Bieber Anti-Choice?” Never Say Never ultimately cumed at $73.01 million in the U.S. and Canada.

'Justin Bieber's Believe' 'cast'

Besides Justin Bieber, who may or may not be retiring at age 20, the Believe “cast” features upcoming Academy Awards host Ellen DeGeneres, Scooter Braun, Ryan Good, Usher Raymond IV, Pattie Mallette, Jeremy Bieber, Ludacris, Ryan Seacrest, will.i.am, Jon M. Chu, and Zach Galifianakis.

Justin Bieber Believe photo: Open Road Films.

Dec. 23

Dec. 23

American Hustle Amy Adams'American Hustle' and David O. Russell movies box office: Russell's latest has stronger than expected wide-release debut, could become the director's top-grossing movie (image: Amy Adams in 'American Hustle')

Directed by David O. Russell, and starring Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Christian Bale, Jennifer Lawrence, and Jeremy Renner, American Hustle opened with a better than expected $19.1 million after expanding to 2,507 North American locations, according to studio estimates found at Boxofficemojo.com. Some pundits had been expecting a debut in the low-to-mid teens.

For comparison's sake: Three years ago, David O. Russell's The Fighter, which also featured American Hustle's Christian Bale and Amy Adams, expanded to 2,503 locations, grossing a considerably more modest $12.56 million. Comparisons to last year's Silver Linings Playbook – also directed by Russell, and featuring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence – are impossible to make, as that film expanded to 2,523 locations only on its tenth weekend out and right around the time of the Academy Award nominations.

Considering that American Hustle will undoubtedly receive a number of Academy Award nominations – along with Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave and Alfonso Cuarón's Gravity, it's one of the three favorites for the Best Picture Oscar – David O. Russell's latest effort will surely remain a solid box office performer well into 2014. There's little doubt that the $40 million-budgeted American Hustle (not including marketing and distribution expenses) will surpass the $100 million mark in the United States and Canada; in fact, depending on how it fares at the Oscars, the $150 million mark is a possibility. If it reaches that high, David O. Russell's NYFCC winner will become his most successful film to date.

David O. Russell movies

David O. Russell's feature-film career has proceeded in fits and starts. In the mid-'90s, Russell came out with a couple of generally well-received independently made, low-budget quirky comedies, Spanking the Monkey (1994) and Flirting with Disaster (1996). These would be followed later in the decade by the $75 million-budgeted post-Persian Gulf War satire Three Kings (1999), starring George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, and Ice Cube, which ultimately earned a – relative to its cost – disappointing $107.7 million worldwide as per (possibly incomplete) figures found at Box Office Mojo.

Not helping matters were stories of David O. Russell coming to blows with George Clooney during the making of Three Kings. In an interview for Playboy in 2000, Clooney described working on the film as “truly, without exception, the worst experience of my life.”

Five years later, David O. Russell was back with another independently made, (relatively) low-budget quirky comedy: I Heart Huckabees, starring Jason Schwartzman. Made for $20 million, despite its mostly name cast – Dustin Hoffman, Isabelle Huppert, Jude Law, Naomi Watts, Lily Tomlin, Mark Wahlberg – I Heart Huckabees turned out to be a total box office bomb, collecting a piteous $12.78 million in North America, in addition to a dismal $7.28 million elsewhere. Once again, not helping matters were two leaked videos showing David O. Russell exploding on the set, screaming obscenities at an irate Lily Tomlin in front of cast and crew.

David O. Russell comeback: 'The Fighter,' 'Silver Linings Playbook,' 'American Hustle'

Six years would pass before the next David O. Russell release: the Mark Wahlberg-co-produced boxing drama The Fighter (2010). Starring Wahlberg, Amy Adams, Melissa Leo, and The Dark Knight's Christian Bale, The Fighter went on to gross a respectable $93.61 million in North America, in addition to a way less impressive $35.57 million internationally. But since it was made for a reported $25 million (as always, not including marketing and distribution expenses), The Fighter was a definitely perceived as a box office hit – and a prestigious one at that, having garnered Oscar wins for both Christian Bale and Melissa Leo, in addition to five other nominations, including those for Amy Adams, director Russell, and for the film itself.

In 2012, David O. Russell had his biggest box office hit to date: Silver Linings Playbook. Released by the Oscar-savvy The Weinstein Company, the comedy-drama starring Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro (who also has a minor role in American Hustle), and Jacki Weaver opened slowly. It looked like the film was going to become a domestic box office disappointment, but thanks to strong awards season buzz, Silver Linings Playbook continued playing well into early 2013, ultimately cuming at $132.09 million in the U.S. and Canada, in addition to an impressive $104.31 million internationally, performing particularly well in Australia, the United Kingdom, Brazil, France, Spain, and Italy.

On the prestige front, Silver Linings Playbook became the first movie since Warren Beatty's Reds to receive Academy Award nominations in all four acting categories. The film ended up with one Oscar out of its eight nominations (including Best Picture, and a Best Director nod for David O. Russell): Best Actress Jennifer Lawrence, who beat the likes of stage and/or screen veterans Emmanuelle Riva (Amour), Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty), and Naomi Watts (The Impossible).

Next movie: 'Nailed'

David O. Russell's next movie is the romantic comedy Nailed, which currently has no scheduled opening date. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Jessica Biel, Kirstie Alley, James Marsden, and Catherine Keener, Nailed follows a small-town waitress who, her behavior unpredictable after a nail accidentally gets stuck in her head, ends up in Washington, D.C., where she becomes involved with a naive young senator.

Co-written by David O. Russell, Matthew Silverstein, Kristin Gore, and Dave Jeser, Nailed also features Paul Reubens, James Brolin, David Ramsey, Olivia Crocicchia, and Kurt Fuller.

Amy Adams in David O. Russell's American Hustle image: Sony Pictures / Columbia Pictures.


         
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1 Comment to Justin Bieber 'Believe' Bombs + David O. Russell Movies Box Office

  1. Meryl

    I liked Silver Linings but I think it was overestimated, Cooper nomination was fair but Jennifer Oscar was not good since she made a normal composition and it was not a lead work