Monday, August 23

I Got It Wrong

I'm not afraid to say when I am wrong, and I was way off base on this one.

Several weeks ago I predicted the box office explosion and resulting come-back of Julia Roberts with "Eat Pray Love." Who could blame me? We all love a come back, and the marketing machine had kicked in big time with partnerships, sponsorships, gaming, products ... the whole gamut. It was a given in my mind. Not to mention Julia's coincidental gig for Lancome (did I ever tell you that there are no coincidences in marketing?).

Maybe I was I just too personally obsessed with the pretty woman? Was my vision blurred?

But I really did think that pop culture was going to work in favor of "Eat Pray Love." This woman has had her soul beaten down, like many of us, and is taking the time she needs to rediscover herself. We're all there, we need some time to ourselves. We need to reinvent. I thought we would all relate.

The opening weekend was not as hoped, and this past weekend was pretty sad. "The Expendables" beat it twice in a row, even among women. There's been no buzz, no chatter, no interest, despite all the marketing effort. Imagine how all those marketing partners feel?

I guess it turns out that this movie just isn't relateable. None of us can take a year off to find ourselves. So to watch that on screen just feels way too self indulgent and spoiled. And she left a really good guy! Whoops.

"Eat Pray Love": the making of a brand that just never made it. I got it wrong, I'll admit it. And now I guess I also have to admit that I didn't go see it -- it's been a crazy busy summer. Whoops.

What's your experience? Jim.


  1. Love your commentary, Jim. I was right behind you! Don't waste your time or $ seeing it! Characters weren't developed, poignant parts to 'set the stage' were omitted (Like the decision to be celibate in Italy... yikes!) AND, remember, she was being PAID to take the year "off" to write.

    Clearly this was a perfect case of the marketers not understanding the consumer who made the book successful! Ahhh... perhaps you should send YOUR book to the show's director/producer! AND use this as an example in your next book! Just a thought :)

  2. I don't know, it did well enough. The movie is a drama and dramas rarely do well at all, particularly during the month of August. It's 23 million dollar opening is the biggest opening ever for a woman-led film in the month of August so that in itself is something.

    Still, it's more of a fall movie than a summer Blockbuster and while the actors are great (Julia, Javier, and Richard give particularly impressive performances), Ryan Murphy is not nor has he ever been a very good director. He did the same thing with Running With Scissors, another beloved book that he adapted and was poorly reviewed despite the great performances.

    Still, EPL is near 50 million at the box office and is on pace to probably do 75-80 million which is pretty good for a drama that only caters to women over the age of 35 and it will undoubtedly make money overseas since most of the movie was not shot in the United States.

  3. First full disclosure - I did not see the film either. Don't feel badly. The studios get it wrong all of the time. With a name like Roberts in the lead the studios most of the time only know formula and are terrified to stray from it. They figure with a name like Roberts they can't lose and buoyed by hope of a massive opening weekend they try to cover their bets and a&$. Additionally, your point is well made. It was not relatable as not many can take a year off to find themselves and surely not get paid for it. Dumping the good guy was also wrong and capricious and endemic of poor story plotting and motivations.

    What made Pretty Woman such a success was the relatablity of bad/dirty girl is really good/principled girl with a heart of gold. Who does not want to know, or be that? Plus, the most effective movie thematic love conquers all delicately clobbered us over the head at the end of Pretty Woman! But we all wanted it and got it for her and for us.