Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson box office comparison
Kristen Stewart or Robert Pattinson? Who came out on top at the North American box office in March 2010 – or about three months prior to the June 30 opening of mega-blockbuster-to-be The Twilight Saga: Eclipse?
The answer in all likelihood is Robert Pattinson, though neither Pattinson’s Remember Me nor Stewart’s The Runaways has fared well at all.
‘Remember Me’ disappoints
Despite its modest $16 million budget, Remember Me has been a box office disappointment. A Summit Entertainment release in North America, the romantic drama should eventually end up in the black – but only after international grosses and ancillary revenues are tallied so as to cover both production and marketing/distribution expenses.
After ten days out, Remember Me has grossed only $13.9 million at the domestic box office. With quite a bit of luck, it’ll reach $20 million; Summit should collect about half of that.
The film is not doing all that well overseas either, though it has yet to open in a number of major markets.
‘The Runaways’ disappoints even more
Starring Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning, Floria Sigismondi’s The Runaways had an even lower budget than Remember Me: only $10 million. Once again, the musical biopic will probably earn its producers and/or distributors a (however small) profit, but definitely not at the North American box office.
The Runaways took in $803,000 on its opening weekend (March 19–21, ’10) at 244 screens, which translates into $3,291 per screen – a low average for a movie in limited release.
For comparison’s sake, at 2,212 screens, Remember Me averaged $3,657 per screen. Generally speaking, the fewer the number of screens the higher the per-screen average for movies of equal box office appeal.
Admittedly, The Runaways may have suffered because of its R rating – drugs, expletives, and a lesbian kiss – which probably made it more difficult for Kristen Stewart fans in their early-to-mid teens to check out the movie. Remember Me, on the other hand, was rated PG-13.
The Runaways will go wide in April, but expect the per-screen average to drop dramatically. With luck, the film will reach a $7-8 million domestic cume. We’ll see.
Update: The Runaways cumed at $3.57 million.
Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart box office stars?
Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart – and to a lesser extent Taylor Lautner – have been hailed as the latest Hollywood superstars following the phenomenal worldwide success of Catherine Hardwicke’s Twilight and Chris Weitz’s New Moon.
A few weeks ago, Pattinson and Stewart were in fact featured in a Vanity Fair piece about the top 40 Hollywood moneymakers of 2009. Yet, as mentioned above, both Pattinson’s Remember Me and Stewart’s The Runaways have turned out to be sizable domestic box office disappointments. And there have been other such relatively recent duds as well.
Filmed three years ago but released last Feb. 26, Udayan Prasad’s The Yellow Handkerchief was pushed as a Kristen Stewart star vehicle even though it features Best Actor Academy Award winner William Hurt (Kiss of the Spider Woman, 1985) and A History of Violence leading lady Maria Bello. To date, the $15.5 million romantic drama has taken in a measly $183,000; The Yellow Handkerchief will be lucky if it reaches the $300,000 mark in North America.
In May 2009, several months after Twilight became a major worldwide hit, Paul Morrison’s Little Ashes, an Anglo-Spanish drama about a fictitious love affair between Salvador Dali (Robert Pattinson) and Federico García Lorca (Javier Beltrán), collected a total of $481,000 north of the Rio Grande.
‘Twilight’ blockbusters, non-‘Twilight’ bombs?
Some may see a Robert Pattinson-Kristen Stewart pattern here: Twilight = $$$; non-Twilight = empty theaters. Their obvious conclusion would be that Pattinson and Stewart are box office draws only within the confines of the Twilight Saga franchise. An obvious conclusion, perhaps, but also a myopic one.
After all, had Sandra Bullock played Joan Jett in the R-rated, $10 million indie-made The Runaways – hardly a critical favorite – it’s unlikely that the rock biopic would have fared all that much better at the domestic box office even though Bullock probably has a larger adult following than Stewart.
For instance, Infamous, which opened in limited release to generally positive reviews in 2006, grossed only $1.1 million despite Bullock’s presence in one of the lead roles.
Along the same lines, had box office magnet Will Smith played Salvador Dali in Little Ashes, chances are that the “what-if biopic” would have made even less money. (Not that Pattinson wasn’t badly miscast as Dali.)
John Wayne as a screaming drag queen: Hit or flop?
The point is, box office stars are box office stars only in the right vehicles. That’s the way it has always been. Marilyn Monroe as Medea would have flopped back in her heyday and the same goes for John Wayne as a screaming drag queen back in his heyday.
Clark Gable starred in a series of major hits for MGM in the ’30s and early ’40s, invariably playing variations of the same macho, cynical ladies’ man. But John M. Stahl’s 1937 historical drama Parnell, in which Gable was cast as an Irish idealist who ends up quite dead, was an embarrassing flop despite the presence of the popular Myrna Loy as the female lead.
Here’s a more recent example: during her heyday in the ’90s, Julia Roberts failed to open the critically panned period piece Mary Reilly while her presence also failed to turn Woody Allen’s whimsical Everyone Says I Love You into a commercial hit.
The indie factor
Also worth pointing out is that neither Remember Me nor The Runaways – or Little Ashes or The Yellow Handkerchief, for that matter – are commercial productions. All four are indie films.
And indie films have a terribly tough time going mainstream unless they have cute, uplifting storylines like Little Miss Sunshine. Or they are cheap, cheesy horror flicks abetted by clever, viral marketing campaigns, e.g., The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity. Or they get lots of awards season attention, as has been the case with Lee Daniels’ Precious and Scott Cooper’s Crazy Heart.
Without any Oscar buzz, Edward Cullen as a conflicted gay artist or an aimless rebel who dies before the final credits and Bella Swan as a tough lesbian rocker or a troubled young drifter are hardly the types of characters to lure Robert Pattinson’s and Kristen Stewart’s respective fan bases into theaters. Or, as the case may be, to lure those who deride Pattinson and Stewart because of their Twilight association.
‘Twilight’ fans not much of a concern
Anyhow, one thing seems to be clear: Pattinson’s and Stewart’s Twilight fans are not much of a concern for either performer. Else, they would have chosen much safer vehicles: a sappy romantic comedy; a feel-good family melodrama; an action flick based on some comic-strip character.
That’s what Taylor Lautner has done by way of both Garry Marshall’s Valentine’s Day and the announced Stretch Armstrong. Admittedly, these sorts of vehicles are all future options for both Pattinson and Stewart.
Too early to determine ‘Twilight’ stars’ box office appeal
In sum, it’s much too early to tell whether Robert Pattinson’s and Kristen Stewart’s film careers will fade to black after the Twilight Saga runs its course. Personally, I find that highly unlikely. I mean, if Sean Connery could do it – talk about an actor associated with one role – why can’t they?
Both are in their early 20s, and have plenty of time to branch out while honing their acting skills. Tom Cruise, for one, became a teen idol following All the Right Moves and Risky Business in the early ’80s. I don’t believe many people back then predicted that Cruise would still be a major worldwide box office draw nearly thirty years later.
All it took was a careful selection of roles: crowd-pleasing banalities (Mission: Impossible and sequels, War of the Worlds) interspersed with heavier, Oscar-baiting projects (Born on the Fourth of July, Magnolia) directed by and/or co-starring respected screen talent.
If Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart find their way, Twilight naysayers notwithstanding, they could be around for a very, very long time.
Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart: Who received better reviews?
Now, who came out on top in terms of critical acclaim, Robert Pattinson for his rebellious Tyler Hawkins in Remember Me or Kristen Stewart for her rebellious Joan Jett in The Runaways?
The clear answer is Kristen Stewart, even though both Pattinson and Stewart have been commended for taking chances while away from the Twilight Saga.
In fact, neither Remember Me, in which the hero dies in the September 2001 terrorist attacks, nor The Runaways, a rock biopic of the titular 1970s all-girl band, could be considered conventional vehicles for two up-and-coming stars whose fan base is for the most part composed of teenage girls.
From Bella Swan to Joan Jett
Kristen Stewart made more of an impression on critics probably because her impersonation of Joan Jett, portrayed as a tough, determined lesbian in The Runaways, is a far cry from the actress’ confused Bella Swan, torn between a vampire (Robert Pattinson) and a werewolf (Taylor Lautner) in the Twilight film franchise.
“Stewart, known mainly for mumbling and stumbling through the Twilight movies, is the revelation here,” wrote Mick LaSalle in the San Francisco Chronicle, while in the Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert says he now believes the actress “could handle such a tough-as-nails character” as the punkish computer hacker in David Fincher’s planned American remake of Niels Arden Oplev’s Swedish thriller The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
Robert Pattinson vs. James Dean
Robert Pattinson’s more conventional Remember Me rebel was considerably less well received, with many critics making unflattering comparisons to James Dean’s antihero portrayals in East of Eden or Rebel Without a Cause.
A typical comment is that of Michael O’Sullivan in the Washington Post:
In attitude, if not aptitude, Robert Pattinson in Remember Me comes across like a latter-day James Dean. Playing Tyler Hawkins … the Twilight hunk fills the screen with cigarette smoke, stubble and hooded green eyes, but little else.
Pattinson, of course, also had his supporters. And as stated above, a number of critics – even some who weren’t crazy about either his character or the movie itself – remarked on the 23-year-old actor’s “daring” career choice.
Chris Weitz on ‘New Moon’ & working with Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart
As an aside, Chris Weitz discusses the making of The Twilight Saga: New Moon and working with Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart in an interview found at Movieweb.
Despite having directed pop culture phenomena like American Pie and New Moon, Weitz calls himself a “pop culture moron.” He had no idea about the Robert Pattinson-Jimmy Fallon “bothered” deal, and from his response seemed just as oblivious to what “bothered” meant exactly. (“How bothered is Robert? He doesn’t seem terribly bothered at all.”)
Weitz adds that he was never meant to continue with the Twilight series, whether on Eclipse or Breaking Dawn, explaining, “I think the continuity is supplied by the actor and the series of books.”
David Slade ‘much better’ action director
About David Slade, who is supposed to be bringing a darker vision to Eclipse, Weitz says:
Just as New Moon looked different from Twilight, I’m sure Eclipse will look different from New Moon. That is good. I don’t want to make anybody follow any type of particular aesthetic. The reason he was brought on was to make every movie different. I think Eclipse is much more action-intensive. For instance, I am pretty terrible at shooting action. He is much better in that regard.
In the interview, Chris Weitz also discusses the New Moon promotional tour, negative critical reaction to the film (“We still live in a state where pop culture is dominated by male desires”), the suggestion that New Moon “might be a more male friendly film,” and the upcoming American Reunion.
‘Eclipse’ movie cast
Eclipse, the third installment in the Twilight Saga franchise, will hit North American theaters on June 30.
Besides Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner, Eclipse features the following:
Best Actress Academy Award nominee Catalina Sandino Moreno (Maria Full of Grace).
Best Supporting Actress Academy Award nominee Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air).
Robert Pattinson Remember Me image: Myles Aronowitz / Summit Entertainment.
Kristen Stewart and Chris Weitz New Moon image: Summit Entertainment.
New ‘Twilight’ movie DVD blockbuster: ‘New Moon’ beating original ‘Twilight’
Say what you will about the box office performances of Remember Me or The Runaways, but Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart surely have their millions of enthusiastic fans.
The Twilight Saga: New Moon DVD, criticized by some for its lack of quality special features, sold 4 million copies on Saturday and Sunday. Last year, Twilight sold 3.8 million units on its first two days.
According to the Los Angeles Times, those figures include only discs sold directly to consumers – not rentals, digital downloads or video-on-demand.
In theaters, New Moon outgrossed Twilight by more than $100 million. In fact, the vampire-human-werewolf romantic saga (or soap, if you will) is still adding some change at more than 100 North American screens.
But if the 200,000 DVD difference doesn’t sound all that impressive, then consider that Summit will in all likelihood be releasing a “special” edition with more and better features in the not-too-distant future. (Much like what 20th Century Fox is doing with James Cameron’s Avatar.) Many twihards may be waiting for that future release. (But then again, if you’re a real twihard, you’d buy both DVD editions.)
And don’t forget that DVD sales in the United States fell 13 percent last year. In other words, a 200,000-unit increase is nothing to be sniffed at.
Last year, Twilight topped DVD charts, with 9.2 million units sold. We’ll see if New Moon will be able to go above that.
Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner star in the 2-disc DVD release and one-disc Blu-Ray of The Twilight Saga: New Moon.
Despite its 2 discs, the “general release” of Twilight Saga: New Moon DVD offers a mere three special features: a commentary track featuring director Chris Weitz and editor Peter Lambert, four music videos, and an hour-long documentary/infomercial focusing on the film’s stars, director, and visual effects.
At some stores like Target, Borders, Best Buy, Barnes and Noble, and Walmart, you’ll be able to find a couple of deleted scenes or perhaps a Twilight Saga: Eclipse preview on the Blu-Ray edition. It all depends on where you buy the disc.
But those looking for a commentary featuring Pattinson, Stewart, and Lautner discussing Edward and Bella and Jacob, and more on The Twilight Saga: Eclipse and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn will be out of luck. They’ll probably have to wait for a “The Twilight Saga: New Moon Special Edition” to come out in a few months.
And don’t forget that The Twilight Saga: New Moon is still playing at 145 screens in North America after being out for 124 days.
Below are a snippets from a few reviews of the New Moon DVD:
“We’ve seen: One at Wal-mart with about an hour of extra stuff and a clip from Eclipse. At Target you get two discs that include some outtakes that aren’t in this edition and some kind of film cell. At Barnes and Noble, there is an edition that is packaged with an Indian “dreamcatcher” and at Borders you can get more bonus features and a medallion thingie. Best Buy has a fancy edition in a steel case.” Lynn Barker at Teen Hollywood.
“Most Twihards will already be watching this release by now, which is a testament to Twilight’s popularity and appeal. It is difficult to review this film as a critic, as it’s really not that great of a movie. But it is completely faithful to the book, and the books are definitely not the best written books in the world. New Moon makes no apologies that it is for the fans. If you’re not already a fan, stay away.” Jenny Rushing at Inside Pulse.
“In Ed’s absence moping Bella hooks up with Jake (Taylor Lautner), who happens to be a werewolf and seems incapable of keeping his shirt on; not that any, you know, SEX happens here. No[,] this adaptation of Stephanie Meyer’s bestseller is like an episode of Dawson’s Creek, only more chaste and with any hint of humour sucked out. A creepy opening sequence, but a dire sequel.” Ben Walsh in The Independent.
Photo: The Twilight Saga: New Moon (Kimberley French / Summit Entertainment)
Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner are the stars of The Twilight Saga: New Moon, which sold four million copies on its first two days out. Last year, Twilight went on to sell more than nine million units.
Below are a few more reviews and commentaries about the Twilight Saga: New Moon DVD release, which comes in different versions – depending on where you buy it.
“The non-ending, calculated to make young female fans gasp, plays more like a season-capping TV episode than a movie; it’s a shameless cliffhanger for the third film … The second disc is a burn; the six self-congratulatory vignettes – really just infocommercials for the cast and crew’s awesomeness – could have fit on one disc.” The New Jersey Star-Ledger.
“Oh man, Twilight fans are going to love this. This is a 6-part documentary that covers everything you want to know. I intended to skip over this, but I couldn’t stop watching. Twilight fans are crazy, but I can’t look away. For the record, I enjoyed this waaaayyy more than the actual film.” Brad Sturdivant at Flix 66.
“The Blu-ray and 2-disc DVD include a six-part behind-the-scenes doc, music videos and filmmaker commentary. It stands to reason why author Stephenie Meyer doesn’t show up, because the movies don’t do her books justice.” Phil Villarreal at OK! Magazine.
“To anyone not in the targeted teen demographic, the story probably sounds patently-preposterous. But who are they to quibble with such a popular escapist fantasy which never takes itself seriously, yet somehow still resonates perfectly with the overly-sentimental, puppy love inclinations of passionate, prepubescent females?” Kam Williams at News Blaze.
Photos: The Twilight Saga: New Moon (Kimberley French / Summit Entertainment)
Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson in The Twilight Saga: New Moon
Below are a few more The Twilight Saga: New Moon Blue-ray/DVD reviews.
“On the disc releases of NEW MOON, fans can check out a lengthy behind-the-scenes documentary that takes them all around the dreary landscapes, showing the making of the movie, the development of the characters’ wardrobe and other superficial insights into the TWILIGHT universe. This six-part making of does pay great service to the loyal fans of the books and their accompanying movie adaptations, providing exhaustive detail concerning the creation of the town of Forks, Washington and the care given to its most popular residents.” Fangoria
“Overall I would give this film a 3/10 which is extremely disappointing. Not much happens in the film and you get to the point where you wish Bella would just disappear because she is so boring, selfish and childish. The DVD offers some interest in the Extras, there are some deleted scenes, interviews with the main cast, Behind the scenes and a sneak peak at Twilight Eclipse which actually looks interesting.” Laraine Sztypuljak at HEYUGUYS.
“Because the Twilight books and movies are a full-fledged phenomenon, no review is going to prevent the home video releases from becoming bestsellers, but you shouldn’t feel bad if you don’t understand what the fuss is about. You’re not alone.” Forrest Hartman in the Reno Gazette Journal.
Stephen Daldry to direct Breaking Dawn?
Academy Award nominee Stephen Daldry could be the next person to direct Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner in the Twilight Saga series.
For those unfamiliar with the name, Stephen Daldry has been nominated for three Best Director Oscars: for Billy Elliot in 2000, The Hours in 2002, and The Reader in 2008. I should add that to date he has only directed three films.
According to an article in the Los Angeles Times blog 24 Frames, the powers-that-be at Summit Entertainment believe Daldry might be the right guy to handle vampires and werewolves in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn. Might. No contract negotiations or anything of the kind thus far.
But why shouldn’t he? After all, he has handled a troubled working-class, teen male ballet dancer; two suicidal characters – one drowns herself, the other throws himself out the window; and a former Nazi guard who has an affair with a young man half her age. Vampires and werewolves should be a piece of cake for him.
Others who have been mentioned as possibilities for the next Twilight Saga installment are two filmmakers with Best Director Oscar nominations in their resume: Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation) and Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting, Milk), and one Oscar winner for Best Adapted Screenplay Bill Condon* (Gods and Monsters, which he also directed).
Summit Entertainment apparently wants to take the lucrative The Twilight Saga franchise to the next level in terms of artistry. What’s interesting is that Coppola, Condon, Daldry, and Van Sant are all widely divergent talents.
Do the Summit powers-that-be merely want a prestige name, or are they actually looking for someone with a particular vision? If it’s the latter option, then they must be changing their minds quite radically each time they think of a new name. One day The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn is supposed to be a hip, innovative love story; the next, a moody, atmospheric existential drama; the next, a conventional but glitzy affair.
Of the four listed above, I’d say Daldry would be the most interesting, chiefly because he hasn’t been afraid to tackle difficult themes – and Breaking Dawn offers some heavy-duty stuff. (Come to think of it, Van Sant would actually be the best choice, except that his commercial ventures tend to be disappointingly by-the-book efforts. Pattinson, for his part, sounded excited about the possibility of working with Van Sant, telling MTV.com, “He shoots everything in Portland. He’s good at making it look beautiful. … [Breaking Dawn] is all about teenage love and obsessions. I think Gus Van Sant would be great.”
But then again, if Stephen Daldry is selected as his next director, Pattinson and his fellow cast members should consider themselves very lucky. In his three-film career, Daldry has helped to earn his actors three Oscar nominations (Julie Walters for Billy Elliot, Ed Harris and Julianne Moore for The Hours) and two Oscars wins (Nicole Kidman for The Hours, Kate Winslet for The Reader).
* I’d erroneously – and inexplicably – had Bill Condon as the Oscar-nominated director of Chicago. Actually, that was Rob Marshall. Condon received an Oscar nomination for penning the screen adaptation of the 2002 musical.
Ashley Greene, Nikki Reed, Elizabeth Reaser, Jackson Rathbone, and Peter Facinelli can be seen above in The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. This new photo has been recently released by Summit Entertainment.
Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner star in the upcoming film.
In the image, Dr. Cullen (Facinelli), Esme (Reaser), Jasper (Rathbone), Alice (Greene), and Rosalie (Reed) look for enemies lurking in the forests of Forks, Washington.
Directed by David Slade from a screenplay by Melissa Rosenberg, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse opens on June 30.
Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner look quite pensive in the picture above, as they wonder: Will Breaking Dawn be one or two movies? Will people need 3D glasses to watch it or not? Will Summit Entertainment hire an Oscar-nominated director to handle it?
If all those concerns weren’t enough, Bella will have a lot more in her plate in Eclipse: there’s a vengeful vampire out to get her, the detente between vampires and werewolves is about to unravel as both werewolf Jacob and vampire Edward (Robert Pattinson) vie for Bella’s affections, and Bella must decide if she wants to become immortal.
And if that weren’t all, there are school exams and all for her to worry about. Ah, and some dead people have been turning up in Seattle.
David Slade directed The Twilight Saga: Eclipse from a screenplay by Melissa Rosenberg. The film is based on Stephenie Meyer’s novel. It opens on June 30.
‘The Runaways’ Reviews: Kristen Stewart & Dakota Fanning Praised
Kristen Stewart appears to have been luckier than Robert Pattinson in her choice of non-Twilight Saga vehicle.
Written and directed by Floria Sigismondi from singer Cherie Currie’s autobiography, The Runaways has received mostly positive notices from US critics. Even those who weren’t all that enthusiastic about the film praised the performances, particularly those of Stewart as rocker Joan Jett, Dakota Fanning as Currie, and Michael Shannon as music impresario Kim Fowley.
Also in the Runaways cast: Tatum O’Neal, Stella Maeve, Scout Taylor-Compton, and Bret Cullen.
“So this isn’t an in-depth biopic, even though it’s based on Currie’s 1989 autobiography. It’s more of a quick overview of the creation, rise and fall of the Runaways, with slim character development, no extended dialogue scenes, and a whole lot of rock ‘n’ roll. Its interest comes from Shannon’s fierce and sadistic training scenes as Kim Fowley, and from the intrinsic qualities of the performances by Stewart and Fanning, who bring more to their characters than the script provides.” Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times. (In his review, Ebert also makes a connection between The Runaways and Russ Meyers’ 1970 exploitation flick Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, which Ebert himself wrote.)
“I have to admit I was completely wrong about Stewart’s ability to play the goddess of punk. Stewart clearly did her homework, because she is fantastic. It’s not just the eerie physical resemblance; Stewart inhabits Jett with every movement she makes. In her first few scenes, the lines coming out of her mouth sounded more petulant than rebellious, and I was worried. But as the movie progresses, the character begins to communicate more with movement than with words and it is phenomenal. The strongest part about her performance is that she captures Joan’s raw, uncompromising love for rock music.” Brian Salisbury at Hollywood.com.
“One could argue that the Runaways paved the way for the Madonnas and Lady Gagas of the world—this movie hints at a really fascinating story but just barely scratches at its glittery surface.” Sara Vilkomerson in the New York Observer.
“The strength and beauty of The Runaways are that it tells the truth. It doesn’t always tell the literal truth about the pioneering all-girl rock band, the Runaways, though it gets the basic facts and most of the details right. More crucially, it conveys precisely what it was like to be young in the mid-1970s, a peculiar juncture in American social history. … And in getting that one thing right – in capturing that strange combination of despair and frustrated energy – it gets everything right.” Mick LaSalle in the San Francisco Chronicle.
“People will probably run to The Runaways, the story of the pioneering seventies girl group, to see Kristen Stewart as Joan Jett earn a bad reputation she doesn’t give a damn about and little Dakota Fanning as 15-year-old Cherie Currie strut around the stage in skimpy outfits ch-ch-chanting that she’s a ch-ch-cherry bomb and join Stewart in some heavy Sapphic smooching. In patches it’s agreeably lurid, but it’s otherwise ho-hum.” David Edelstein in New York magazine.
“The most entertaining thing about The Runaways, a highly watchable if mostly run-of-the-mill group biopic, is that its writer-director, Floria Sigismondi, has a sixth sense for how the Runaways were bad-angel icons first and a rock & roll band second.” Owen Gleiberman in Entertainment Weekly.
Kristen Stewart, in her first starring vehicle following her success as the befuddled heroine in The Twilight Saga movies, has received many more bouquets from critics than fellow Twilight and The Twilight Saga: New Moon co-star Robert Pattinson. For his performance as a rebellious young man in Allen Coulter’s romantic drama Remember Me, Pattinson has been greeted by many more pans than paens from US and international critics.
US critics have found Kristen Stewart’s rebelliousness in Floria Sigismondi’s The Runaways more to their tastes. According to reviewers, Stewart has done a thoroughly believable impersonation of rocker Joan Jett for early 21st century audiences.
We’re still culling snippets from various reviews and will be adding more later today. So far, no Oscar talk for either Stewart or co-star Dakota Fanning, but inevitably someone will come up with that at some point.
“Stewart, known mainly for mumbling and stumbling through the Twilight movies, is the revelation here. She has made a meticulous study of Jett – of her posture, her manner, her expressions, even in the way thoughts cross her eyes. And she has Jett’s stage manner down, the way this seemingly shy person assumes total authority when she gets up to play. The visuals help – the costuming and art direction are spot-on.” Mick LaSalle in the San Francisco Chronicle.
“Another new movie this week, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo from Sweden, has a role for a young, hostile computer hacker. Stewart has been mentioned for the inevitable Hollywood remake. Reviewing that movie, I doubted she could handle such a tough-as-nails character. Having seen her as Joan Jett, I think she possibly could.” Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times.
“The film, directed with a gritty eye by Floria Sigismondi, was surprisingly successful when it came to casting. Kristen Stewart, as Joan Jett, channels all of her weird, fidgety Twilight energy into a compelling, tomboyish figure of a girl/woman who just wants to rock as hard—or harder—as her male counterparts … And Dakota Fanning, all grown up from her Dr. Seuss days, is believable as jail-bait Cheri Currie—half David Bowie, half Brigit [sic] Bardot …” Sara Vilkomerson in the New York Observer.
“As portrayed, they’re so generically brash that they don’t have full-scale personalities. Stewart nails Jett’s sinewy swagger, but Joan’s lesbian proclivities are treated in a teasing, music-video way. I mean, why be so coy in a film that’s meant to be a rowdy salute to a new kind of audacious feminine sexual power?” Owen Gleiberman in Entertainment Weekly.
Kristen Stewart – looking remarkably different from Robert Pattinson’s human lover in Twilight and The Twilight Saga: New Moon – Dakota Fanning, and Michael Shannon star in The Runaways, written and directed by Floria Sigismondi (right).
Adapted from The Runaways’ singer Cherie Currie’s autobiography, The Runaways tells the story of the all-girl rock band of the late ’70s. Stewart plays rocker Joan Jett; Shannon is record producer Kim Fowley.
“Consensus: Viewers expecting an in-depth biopic will be disappointed, but The Runaways is as electric as the band’s music, largely thanks to strong performances from Michael Shannon, Dakota Fanning, and Kristen Stewart. “Rotten Tomatoes.
“This is a movie that shows women taking control of their own lives, bodies and voices, without polite curtsies to the establishment – and really, that’s exactly what The Runaways represented to a whole generation of young women who came of age circa 1977.” Katherine Monk at Canwest News Service (via the Vancouver Sun).
“The trouble is that while this take on the rock-band-makes-good genre has been made with plenty of energy and enthusiasm, it lacks that final burst of inspiration that would have set it apart from other similar films. That is bad enough but what is especially heartbreaking is the fact that all the material required to actually do that is sitting right there and for some inexplicable reason, the filmmakers have failed to take advantage of much of it and while the end result may have the salutary effect of exposing younger viewers to the group, it fails to offer much of a compelling case for its own existence.” Peter Sobczynski at efilmcritics.com.
“I’ll be blunt about this: I really wasn’t looking forward to this movie. I’m not the biggest fan of lip-chewing, hair-twirling Kristen Stewart, or the wide-eyed, blank face expert Dakota Fanning. I love rock and roll … but these two starring in a movie about an all-girl, teen sensation, flash in the pan band from the 1970s? I just didn’t think they could pull it off. Hey, at least I’m big enough to admit I was wrong.” Kevin Kelly at Cinematical.
“But once Shannon lurches off-screen, we’re left with five teenagers, most of whom are only sketched out. … And when the most interesting character in a rock ‘n’ roll movie is the manager, that’s not a good sign. Stewart, the best of the rest, tries hard here. Fanning briefly comes to life during one concert scene.” Stephen Whitty at NJ.com.
“But Ms. Sigismondi infuses crucial scenes with a rough, energetic spirit, and shows a willingness to accept the contradictions inherent in the material without prurience, moralism or too much sentimentality. The movie may be a little too tame in the end, but at its best it is just wild enough.” A.O. Scott in the New York Times.
“The problem with The Runaways, a street-level snapshot of the creation of the groundbreaking ’70s all-girl rock band, is that they went with the wrong girl.” Betsy Sharkey in the Los Angeles Times.
Kristen Stewart has generally received good notices for her performance as tough-talking, lesbian rocker Joan Jett in The Runaways. There have been some dissenters, however.
“The relationship [between the two lead characters] is strained, but it’s also sisterly, which gives Sigismondi and the two young stars a huge emotional canvas to work with. They don’t let it go to waste, either, as Fanning and Stewart recreate the young-girl archetype with honest potency.” Katherine Monk at Canwest News Service (via the Vancouver Sun).
“Kristen Stewart steps out of her normal angsty girl act and nails down the punk rock, hard as nails Jett, and Fanning is equally as good with her disconnected portrayal of Currie …” Kevin Kelly at Cinematical.
“Joan, who clearly loves Cherie (the kiss between Ms. Stewart and Ms. Fanning has become grist for talk-show chat), is also her rival and foil. Joan is the backbone of the band, and the one most able to turn Fowley’s advice into a program of professional success. And Ms. Stewart, watchful and unassuming, gives the movie its spine and soul. Cherie may dazzle and appall you, but Joan is the one you root for, and the one rock ‘n’ roll fans of every gender and generation will identify with.” A.O. Scott in the New York Times.
“… [T]he other major flaw with The Runaways is the bizarre decision to cast Kristen Stewart, arguably the most relentlessly recessive young actress working today, in the role–there are plenty of words out there that could be used to properly define Joan Jett, but ‘recessive’ is definitely not one of them. I have liked Stewart in most of her previous non-vampire-related performances … and she does get Jett’s look down pat–in some scenes, she is virtually a dead ringer–but she just lacks the fire and energy that the role requires.” Peter Sobczynski at efilmcritics.com.
“The good news is that Stewart is absolutely spot on as Jett; fighting convention in studded leather jackets favored by biker bad boys and shredding an electric guitar when folk rock or sugary pop was more the fashion for femmes. It was a smart choice for Stewart, who was in danger of having her career eclipsed by Bella, the pale troubled teen she plays in the Twilight series, a role that made her a star without confirming she could act.” Betsy Sharkey in the Los Angeles Times.
“While she’s really playing second banana to Fanning, Kristen Stewart makes an excellent Joan Jett.” Chris Bumbray at joblo.com.
Dakota Fanning in The Runaways
Kristen Stewart’s role in The Runaways is actually subordinate to that of Dakota Fanning, even though Joan Jett (Stewart) is much better remembered today than Cherie Currie (Fanning). However, writer-director Floria Sigismondi’s screenplay is based on Currie’s autobiography – which explains the film’s focus.
The Runaways has opened to mixed but generally positive reviews. The film’s three leads, Stewart, Fanning, and Michael Shannon, have received most of the praise. Even so, there have been some critics who have carped about either Stewart’s or Fanning’s (sometimes both) inability to truly bring to life the mid-70s rockers.
“Fanning and Stewart do their own singing here (Stewart took guitar lessons, too), and they’re really good … Fanning has nailed down the perfect lost-angel presence for her portrayal of Cherie (compare it with old Runaways concert footage and you can see how close she’s come to the original model); and while Stewart spends a lot of time slightly off to the side, she makes herself felt in every sequence in which she figures. Her ambiguity — as a friend, as a lover — is fascinating, especially in a scene in which Joan is lying on top of Cherie, breathing pot smoke into her mouth, and the camera looks up into her dark, otherworldly eyes, wondering what she’s wondering, and what she sees coming.” Kurt Loder on MTV.com.
“Fanning, unfortunately, is absolutely wrong as Cherie. Fifteen when the film was being shot, in a bustier and fishnets and heavy make-up, she looks like an innocent lured off Hollywood Boulevard for child porn, not the growling sex machine that – at least on stage – Currie was. … In recent years, she has been turning to indie projects to make the transition to edgier adult roles, including as a rape victim in the provocative but panned Hounddog in 2007. But she has yet to find the right platform, and with Cherie, she never finds her footing.” Betsy Sharkey in the Los Angeles Times.
“Sigismondi’s refusal to effectively flesh out the majority of the supporting figures proves disastrous, as talented performers like Stewart and Shawkat are left with little to do but strike sneering, rebellious poses (and this is to say nothing of Fanning’s flat-out inability to wholeheartedly step into the shoes of her hard-bitten character).” David Nusair at Reel Film Reviews.
“Stewart, who adopts Jett’s hunched posture and punk mumble, lets her hungry stare do all the work. She wants to be a real rocker, not just a star. Fanning’s Currie, by contrast, is the baby drama queen, a frail narcissist who can’t help marketing her nubile sexuality because it gets her the attention she craves.” Liam Lacey in the Toronto Globe and Mail.
“Dakota Fanning, long Hollywood’s leading child star, hurls herself into the role of Cherie Currie, the band’s jailbait lead singer whose overt sexuality and provocative outfits predated Madonna by a decade or more. It is a stunning transition from the innocence of most of Fanning’s roles, and the actress pulls it off without hitting a false note as Currie deals with an alcoholic father, a neglectful mother, drugs and the ravages of fame.” Charlie McCollum at the San Jose Mercury News.