Will CBS’s first released film fly?

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I was talking to a Hollywood marketing expert the other day and asked him what he thought the box office prospects were for “Extraordinary Measures,” a sobering drama starring Harrison Ford and Brendan Fraser about a couple’s search for a researcher who might have a cure for their two children’s rare genetic disorder.

The biggest obstacle, the expert said, was that movies like this one come off as “made for television,” which is not to say it’s a bad business to be in if you’re CBS Films, which is releasing the movie Jan.22, but adult dramas go against everything Hollywood is about these days.

The film is tracking strongest with older women, he said, but it’s still a little early to say how it will do opening weekend. There was a time, oh, around the Triassic period, when Hollywood wasn’t reluctant about making adult dramas, but a seismic shift occurred about the time of “Jaws.” Today, moviegoers flock to see high-octane action films like “Indiana Jones,” or broad comedies like “The Hangover,” or CGI-laced sci-fi fare like “Avatar,” but you won’t find audiences snaking around the local megaplex waiting for the next showing of “The Young Victoria” or “An Education.” There also was a time when teens could be counted on to see a film like “Rebel Without a Cause.” Today, they’d still go–provided James Dean played a vampire.

“Extraordinary Measures” is the first film released by CBS Films, a division of CBS Corp. CBS Executive Leslie Moonves told the Los Angeles Times: “It’s a tough market but the risk is low.” The film should have a long afterlife on DVD, cable and broadcast networks, the marketing expert noted.

About Robert W. Welkos

Executive Editor: Robert W. Welkos is an award-winning journalist who covered the entertainment industry for 15 years as a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times. During this span, he wrote extensively about the movie industry from turmoil in the executive suites, the Academy Awards and Golden Globes, and box office hits and bombs to visits to movie sets as well as profiles of top stars and A-list directors, cutting edge features on the newest indie films and visits to famous film festivals like Sundance and Cannes. Prior to entertainment, Welkos worked as a reporter and assistant city editor in The Times’ Metro section where he undertook major investigations for the paper as well as covering breaking news and writing in-depth features. Before joining The Times, he worked for the Associated Press in Reno, Nevada, and City News Service in Los Angeles.

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One Comment

  • January 11, 2010 | Permalink |

    Doesn’t anyone remember that an entity called CBS Films launched in 1980 with much fanfare and hand-wringing? It’s “deja vu all over again.”

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