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Don’t blame the stars, blame the studios? Are young, rising stars risking their careers by making vehicles with underperforming studios?

By Scott Mendelson

hollywoodnews.com: We all know that Heigl and Kutcher are going to get ripped in the media because Killers ‘only’ opened with $16 million. And there are those that believe that Letters to Juliet surely could have pulled in $60 million, and that the failure to do so was a sign of Amanda Seyfried’s lacking starpower.

Yet both of those films are perfect examples of the weaknesses inherent in the studios that released them. Letters to Juliet and Killers had no chance to opening to $20 million+, because (for whatever reason) the studios that released them don’t generally open films at that level of business.

If you take away the fluke of Fahrenheit 9/11 and the Tyler Perry pictures, Lionsgate has had three $20 million+ openings in their history (Haunting in Connecticut, The Forbidden Kingdom, and My Bloody Valentine 3D). Same thing with Summit. Take away the Twilight franchise, and they’d have one $20 million+ opener (Knowing) and nothing else above $14 million in the last three or four years.

I would argue that the fact that something as poorly marketed and off-putting as Killers opened to $16 million is very much a testament to the star power of Kutcher and Heigl, and that Seyfried is a star because Letters to Juliet made any money at all, let alone over $43 million thus far (and I’d argue that in a film industry where movies could hold onto screens longer, Letters to Juliet would have made more).

But that’s not the way most entertainment media reads the tea leaves. So, I guess the question is, should Amanda Seyfried have had the foresight to choose a different studio, if possible, to launch what could have been viewed as her breakout movie?

To read more go to MENDELSON’S MEMOS

About Scott Mendelson

Mendelson's Memos: The basics - 30 years old, married with one child, currently residing in Woodland Hills, CA. I am simply a longtime film critic and pundit of sorts, especially in the realm of box office. The main content will be film reviews, trailer reviews, essays, and box office analysis and comparison. I also syndicate myself at The Huffington Post and Open Salon. I will update as often as my schedule allows. Yes, I'm on Facebook/Twitter/LinkIn, so feel free to find me there. All comments are appreciated, just be civil and try to keep a level discourse, as I will make every effort to do the same. Read more at Mendelson's Memos:

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One Comment

  • June 10, 2010 | Permalink |

    (sorry for my English)
    I agree, both films had decent potential but their studios hurt their chances. I mean you can say Killers was panned by critics and is a bad movie and that’s why the OW was underwhelming, but then again….The Ugly Truth was equally panned by critics and it still made more than 200M worldwide AND opened really well stateside.
    And Letters to Juliet still performs well, it will pass 50M and that’s great for Amanda Seyfried considering the budget and the fact a lot of actresses couldn’t get past 40M when they were left alone to deliver a hit (Jennifer Aniston – Love happens, Amy Adams – Leap Year, Jennifer Lopez – The Back-up Plan, Sarah Jessica Parker – Did you hear about the Morgans?, Kristen Stewart – Adventureland, The Runaways).
    So basically at this moment Amanda Seyfried’s sole star power is bigger than any of those actresses” because when they are in a hit they either have very strong BO-co-stars (Aniston, Adams) and/or very strong source material with huge following (Parker, Stewart).

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