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Aug 2nd
01:49 pm
LA Times: 'Zac Efron's (halting) reinvention'  
From LA Times writer, Steven Zeitchik:

There's a piquant irony in Zac Efron backing out of "Footloose" because he didn't want to be the "High School Musical" guy -- and then having the movie he chose to do draw mainly from the "High School Musical" set.

Efron's soapy "Charlie St. Cloud" grossed just $12.1 million this weekend, largely because of goodwill from tweens and teens who like Efron from his Troy Bolton days, according to box-office experts. Showing less goodwill were critics, who collectively gave the tearjerky story of a lovelorn man conjuring up memories of his late brother a mere 24% on Rotten Tomatoes, and used such descriptors as "unintentionally hilarious" (the New York Post, Lou Lumenick).

But in an interview with my colleague Amy Kaufman, Efron said he felt confident that acting in a serious drama would help him move into the next phase of his career.

"I was looking at 'Footloose' and how great it would be, and every person you talk to is like, 'That's a great move. That's exactly what we would expect from you,' " he said, pouring himself some tea last month. "And after you hear that a few times, you kind of just go, 'I have to look myself in the face.' I wanted to slow down and do something challenging for the right reasons — not for the money or notoriety or for more fame or to be the king of genre."

Compared to singing and dancing through homeroom, the movie represents an evolution, but only the way going from an amoeba to a paramecium might be considered an evolution.
The shaky reviews might suggest Efron should stick with the tween roles as long as he can eke them out. But it's clear he wants more, and it's also clear he has at least a little more talent than this (it was even clear in "17 Again"). And yet he continues with the maudlin teen fare, a point underscored last week when it was revealed he was attached to "The Lucky One," the latest Nicholas Sparks Kleenex-puller. While superficially a more dramatic role, the project smells of the same saturated schmaltz of "High School Musical," only in non-singing form.

The simple answer to this conundrum -- assuming he wants to solve it -- is for Efron to choose better material, though of course that presumes it's there to be chosen. "St. Cloud" came about because it was the most adult option in a sea of kiddie choices. Those options may be expanding a little for Efron now, especially as he gets his production company going and studio Warner Bros. redoubles its efforts to keep him happy. The studio recently optioned remake rights to the Swedish hit "Snabba Cash," a movie about an ingénue drug dealer that's as much character piece as action thriller. So he at least should have a few more choices over the coming years.

There's a silver lining in the failure of "Charlie St. Cloud"; you could look at the results and infer that audiences don't want to see Efron as a vulnerable heartthrob. It's an open question, though, whether we want to see him as something else.

Personally I disagree with the last paragraph. To me the silver lining is, you put him in a movie that was not that well-reviewed and not that well-promoted and it still made $12 million dollars. Jeezbee pointed out to me The Playlist made this connection as well and it's true. If he wasn't a star, this would've banked $6 million tops, just like the similarly melodramatic and poorly marketed film Extraordinary Measures. People showed up for him. I do agree about the better material thing though... and about The Lucky One.
Mood: busybusy
40 40 comments Comment
Beejeezbee on August 2nd, 2010 08:00 pm (UTC)
I've actually left a comment at the LAT in a similar vein than yours. I don't think it's a sign that people don't want to see him in anything else, just that this movie was bad - nobody could have opened it big.

But I agree with the assessment that The Lucky One is a bad choice for the next film. It won't help him get anywhere but navigates him further into a corner/pigeon-hole that nobody but (young) women want to see him.
It's Audrey not Aubreyaudrey_za on August 2nd, 2010 08:29 pm (UTC)
Honest question, is Rotten Tomatoes touted as some kind of be all end all for movie reviews? I just assumed it was a database of reviews.

I see the % and it truly means nothing to me. The higher the score, the better film and vice versa, no?
It's Audrey not Aubreyaudrey_za on August 2nd, 2010 08:30 pm (UTC)
... this isn't really a question other than is RT something more than a database of reviews?
(no subject) - calcified on August 2nd, 2010 09:28 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - audrey_za on August 2nd, 2010 09:31 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - calcified on August 2nd, 2010 09:34 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - audrey_za on August 2nd, 2010 09:38 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ehs_wildcats on August 2nd, 2010 10:50 pm (UTC) (Expand)
RT - livingwell100 on August 2nd, 2010 09:36 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: RT - audrey_za on August 2nd, 2010 09:43 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Shruti: Zac | Thinkercalcified on August 2nd, 2010 09:32 pm (UTC)
I mentioned this elsewhere but it's important enough (to me... lol) to say again).

IMHO his team is operating on the proven-to-be-outdated model of building up a star in Zac through vehicles. The more modern and more useful platform is to get him into movies people want to see, regardless of his presence, and build up not a fanbase (which he already has, though not in all that worthwhile of a sense in terms of credibility) but a sense of good acting and good choices.

Edited at 2010-08-02 09:34 pm (UTC)
livingwell100livingwell100 on August 2nd, 2010 09:44 pm (UTC)
So true Shrewtee.

A great supporting role in a great film can and will build a demographic and expand an actors opportunities and bankability as well as a leading role.

People always seem to forget that Robert Dinero, Meryl Streep, Vanessa Redgrave, even Ethel Barrymore ( I could go on also with nominees now leads) won oscars in supporting actor/actress first. Which lead to all those amazing leading roles. Those supporting roles were in great motion pictures.

We all know Zac can act now its time to see him in really great motion pictures
hlloyd04 on August 2nd, 2010 10:36 pm (UTC)
Thank you for pointing this out. This is exactly the way that I feel. I'd much rather see him a major ensemble piece. Even if he sacrifices screen time to be in a movie that a)a broad audience actually wants to see, and b)gets to work with people both off and on camera that have their own star power, lots of experience, and talent.

I'd love it if they could recognize that. IDG why it seems like they are so against this. He's got to build credibility within the industry and with a broader base than Burrs, Ortega, Shankman, etc. And if he's not the only name people recognize so be it.
(no subject) - jeezbee on August 3rd, 2010 04:12 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - hlloyd04 on August 3rd, 2010 04:18 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - jeezbee on August 3rd, 2010 04:25 am (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - calcified on August 2nd, 2010 11:57 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - calcified on August 3rd, 2010 12:06 am (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - calcified on August 3rd, 2010 12:05 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - bettybaby63 on August 3rd, 2010 02:54 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - jeezbee on August 3rd, 2010 12:09 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - calcified on August 3rd, 2010 12:13 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - jeezbee on August 3rd, 2010 12:19 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - calcified on August 3rd, 2010 12:20 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ehs_wildcats on August 3rd, 2010 12:36 am (UTC) (Expand)
renee_77renee_77 on August 2nd, 2010 09:38 pm (UTC)
I have a question CStC opened in 2720 theatres right, schmucks opened in 2911. Inception is in over 3500, so where is the comparison, I am not to savvy about this film stuff but don't you make more money by being in more theatres. Also they keep on about how mauldin this movie is, well, what of the great classics like How Green was my Valley, Gone with the Wind, etc, etc. Not saying this is necessarily on par with those, but hey some people really love sappy movies. Also, in my theatre there were young thru sixish couplies. Loved this movie.
hunny miss (aka lets fead him to the gators)ehs_wildcats on August 2nd, 2010 11:05 pm (UTC)
though it doesn't get reported much by mainstream media, people who follow the box office closely take into account that difference in number of theaters. you can see on box office mojo the per theater average which is where they basically divide the box office by screens it showed on to show you how much money each movie made per screen. it can be useful in some situations but at the same time, more screens does not necessarily mean more people will show up.
(no subject) - renee_77 on August 3rd, 2010 04:36 am (UTC) (Expand)
bettybaby63bettybaby63 on August 2nd, 2010 09:54 pm (UTC)
now there are reports that the NS will start shooting at the end of the summer????

i am still getting hits that "its in negotiations?"

idk, idk....

but this is interesting from playlist....its what i'm clinging to :)

As a result, Zac Efron deserves a little bit of respect for getting his fanbase to buy tickets for something like "Charlie St. Cloud," which looked like a substandard Lifetime movie no one in their right mind would consider worth the price of a recession-era movie ticket. A $12m+ opening for that film certainly suggests he's a leading man - it takes something in the realm of $6-8 million ("Jonah Hex"?) to suggest you shouldn't be headlining anything. Expect the same jackhole executives whining about the lack of movie stars sliding star-ready scripts Efron's way.

It's Audrey not Aubreyaudrey_za on August 2nd, 2010 10:11 pm (UTC)
I didn't know Jonah Hex did that bad. Damn.

That's a nice blurb, thanks for bringing it over. :)
(no subject) - ehs_wildcats on August 2nd, 2010 10:32 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - audrey_za on August 2nd, 2010 10:42 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ehs_wildcats on August 2nd, 2010 10:52 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - bettybaby63 on August 2nd, 2010 11:36 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - bettybaby63 on August 2nd, 2010 11:42 pm (UTC) (Expand)
ryanefronryanefron on August 2nd, 2010 10:16 pm (UTC)
Okay im gonna say one thing. They question his "star power?" well lets take Robert Pattinson. Somebody believed to have alot of "star power". His film similar to this genre only grossed 8 million opening weekend. I think this speaks to Zacs immense draw, especally when your considering that Pattinson is attacted to a few 200 million dollar movies.
hunny miss (aka lets fead him to the gators)ehs_wildcats on August 2nd, 2010 10:31 pm (UTC)
that's actually a point that i don't understand why no one is making tbh. on the one hand i'm happy, cause i'd rather he doesn't get drawn into comparisons where that whole fanbase might get activated into defending him because then the discussion is pointless and lopsided.

but it is very notable to me that rob who is in the middle of a hugely successful franchise couldn't pull an audience over 9 million whilst zac who is almost 2 years out of his franchise that made him a name drew more. how can anyone ignore that?

one other point i'd make is that there was a huge spike in zac's starmeter and the film's moviemeter the week the trailer came out. but it couldn't muster as much interest after that. what it says is that an enormous number of people are interested in what zac is doing, but the trailer wasn't enough to convert the zac interest into film interest. so to me, that says he just needs a better movie.
(no subject) - bettybaby63 on August 2nd, 2010 10:42 pm (UTC) (Expand)
lilly4848lilly4848 on August 3rd, 2010 12:50 am (UTC)
diverse audience
I disagree with the statement about the goodwill from teens and tweens. I've actually posted this in a couple of places. I went to a 1030 show on a Sunday morning, and I thought that I'd be alone, but there were lots of people there. And it was a very diverse audience. Older, gray haired couples, 20-something couples, 30-something couples, teen girls, moms with younger daughters, single men, single women, black and white. It was the same thing when I went on Friday. The tweens and teens were in the minority.
zacefronfan26 on August 4th, 2010 03:45 pm (UTC)
I really Think Zac doing the Lucky one is a bad Idea.