The NYT reports that the braintrust behind Cinderella Man met on Tuesday to try and make some sense of the movie's failure at the box office. (Of course, Russell Crowe's ill-timed bludgeoning of a hotel clerk didn't help, but wasn't seen as the deal-breaker.) Let the wringing of the hands, the gnashing of the teeth, and the wailing to a Creator who's cruelly indifferent to period boxing movies commence!
"I look at each season as a living organism, and I don't think the season of summer is compatible with a movie of this type," said Brian Grazer, a producer of "Cinderella Man." He was at the Tuesday meeting and was among those who had pushed for a fall release. "It's almost a scientific equation, the summer movies are big, exciting, fun events," he added. "It's biorhythmic." [...]
But in this case audiences have not appeared. "Cinderella Man" took in just $18.3 million on its opening weekend, not the $28 million projected by market research. Last weekend, the audience dropped by a disappointing 47 percent, as moviegoers instead chose the eye candy of "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" and the animated high jinks of "Madagascar."
The result has been a blue mood at Universal. "There are hardly words to describe how we all feel," Mr. Grazer said. "I feel like crying."
[Universal Pictures Vice Chairman Marc] Shmuger noted somewhat bitterly that he repeatedly heard the complaint from cinephiles that there are no serious, adult dramas on studio schedules. Now that there was one, he said, moviegoers did not go.
"Despite all protest to the opposite, that audiences are clamoring for an alternative, I guess what they're really looking for is what their behavior shows," he said. "That's terribly concerning."
Oh, these fickle, summering humans! They say they crave the succor of Serious Adult Dramas, but when we deliver the numbing comfort of Ron Howard's simplistic cinematic delights, they rebuke us for Brad and Angelina's empty release! We will never understand thee!
We fear that the obsessive, quixotic Grazer may do something drastic to help cope with the pain of failure. Hopefully, his cultural attaché will arrange a cocktail party with Stephen Hawking, Deepak Chopra, and the ghost of Marlon Brando to help him make sense of things, before he locks himself in his mansion for a "brainstorming session" with a box of razor blades.