Is the bloom coming off the Ryan Reynolds rose?
Inasmuch as it’s ever hard being a Hollywood pinup, Ryan Reynolds is having a tough summer. He took a step up in the superhero leagues with “Green Lantern,” where he played a lead in a comic-book movie for the first time — only to have the movie snubbed by critics and dismissed by a wider moviegoing public.
Next up is this weekend’s body-switching comedy “The Change-Up,” which hasn’t garnered strong early reviews and isn’t tracking especially well, particularly among the young male audience that typically makes up an R-rated comedy’s core audience.
It all adds up to a setback for the 34-year-old Canadian, who just two summers ago was being hailed as an A-list leading man when “The Proposal” reached a level of surprise blockbuster success. Reynolds booked several gigs off that turn, including the “Green Lantern” role, after proving that he can bring in a much-coveted female demographic. But when the curtain comes down on the box office this summer, his stock won’t be nearly as high, and it remains to be seen whether producers will be as quick to book him as leading man in a big-budget bet.
On the red carpet of "The Change-Up” premiere, Reynolds acknowledged paying "some attention" to ticket sales, but said he doesn't "place a tremendous amount of focus on it. It doesn't mean as much to me as it does studio heads." (Video interviews with the film's stars can be found below.)
Reynolds is not the only “Change-Up” star to have a rough go of it this summer. Olivia Wilde got her first significant spot in a major Hollywood tent pole with Jon Favreau’s genre mash-up “Cowboys & Aliens.” But the film isn’t off to a great start — it collected only $36.4 million on its first weekend in theaters, and in an embarrassing turn, was nearly beaten at the box office by the lower-profile "The Smurfs."
Wilde, who went to Comic-Con International in San Diego last month to promote the movie, said that she too doesn’t pay much attention to a film’s performance, saying she "purposefully scheduled" time to direct a short film last weekend so she could be distracted from the "box-office extravaganza."
"I'm really happy, because I have no idea how we did, so it's OK," she said. "I don't know the numbers. I don't need to know."
About the only star of “The Change-Up” who seems to be having a good summer is Jason Bateman. The actor, again playing one of his likably even-keeled roles, found success at the box office with “Horrible Bosses,” a raunchy comedy about a trio of men who make a pact to murder one another’s employers. The modestly budgeted film came in to the summer with few expectations but has already raked in more than $110 million worldwide since it opened in July.
For Reynolds, the stakes get higher in the months to come. He’s set to star in two big releases, the undead thriller “R.I.P.D.” and as the titular wisecracking Marvel mercenary in "Deadpool." For his sake, one hopes things pick up, or he could end up with a lot more box office news on which he won’t put a tremendous focus.
-- Amy Kaufman and Steven Zeitchik
Photo: Ryan Reynolds and Olivia Wilde in "The Change-Up." Credit: Universal Pictures.