“Skyfall” topped the box office in its fifth weekend

The decision by Warner Bros. to move The Gangster Squad (trailer) to January, 2013 and Universal’s choice to move Les Miserables from next weekend to Christmas day should have caused a giant game of musical chairs. It didn’t, and now we have the second December weekend in a row (with one more to come) with just a single new release). Meanwhile the last two weekends of the year are going to be jam-packed with major films (Jack Reacher, This Is Forty, DJango Unchained, The Guilt Trip, etc.), all of which could have *easily* topped the box office and/or dominated the competition had they opened this weekend or last weekend. But weekends that are barren of new releases save for a Gerald Butler vehicle tend to be very boring box office weekends indeed.

But this weekend saw but a single half-hearted new release, a Gerald Butler rom-com that once again proves that Butler is only a movie star when he has a bigger co-star beside him. And while Jessica Biel may be a better actress than the mainstream material she gets offered would attest, she ain’t Katherine Heigl or Jennifer Anniston (or Jamie Foxx for that matter). Play For Keeps debuted with $6 million this weekend. The film earned a B+ from Cinemascore while playing 57% female and 74% over 25 years old. Forgive me if no one cares, save to feel bad for the careers of Uma Thurman, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Judy Greer as they are forced to play desperate soccer moms who just can’t resist Mr. Butler. 300 was a long time ago, and it’s tough to be a movie star when your break-out role renders you unrecognizable. He’ll continue to work because the industry still thinks the man who killed Joel Schumacher’s Phantom of the Opera (he can’t sing, he really can’t sing) is a next wave movie star. But I think it’s time to call time-of-death on Butler’s alleged movie stardom.

To read more go to Mendelson’s Memo

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