Uma Thurman's Career Needs a 'Bill' Boost
By Mike Ryan Posted Apr 2nd 2010 10:33AM
Maybe Uma Thurman should finally take David Letterman up on his 1995 offer to meet Oprah Winfrey -- at this point, considering her latest film's box-office numbers, it couldn't hurt. 'Motherhood' opened this past weekend in the UK and made around $130 at the box office. Now, to be clear about a couple of things: That wasn't a typo where we forgot to add the word "million" at the end of $130. And, we know what you're also thinking: That we didn't convert the exchange rate from pounds to dollars. We did. Thurman's film, measured in pounds, actually made £88. The saddest part is that on it's debut day, 'Motherhood' made £9. The average price to see a movie in the UK appears to be £7 to £10, which means, yes, one lone person went to see it on day one. This begs a few questions: First, who is the mysterious, lone, brave, British moviegoer? Second, are movie ticket prices really that expensive in the UK? Nine pounds ($13.71)? Egads! And why, if Miss Thurman can be so butt-kickingly awesome in Quentin Tarantino movies, has her career been a myriad of near-bombs? After the jump, some theories.
'Motherhood,' which co-stars Anthony Edwards, focuses on the day-to-day hassles of being a mother living in New York ... you know what? It doesn't really matter.
Thurman can take little solace in knowing that 'Motherhood' did slightly better in the U.S., taking in $93,388 at the domestic box office. Which means, at an average ticket price of $10, a little over 9,300 people saw her film. To put that in perspective, 'Motherhood' was seen by about three-tenths of one percent of the people who saw 'Avatar' ... on its opening day.
It's a sad but true moment: Thurman now stars in films that are attended by less people than were actually involved in making them.
Though 'Motherhood' is an exaggerated example, Thurman's recent record at the box office has been suspect, to say the least. Not counting her well-received role as Medusa in 'Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief,' where she was far from the star of the film, she really hasn't had much of a hit since the two 'Kill Bill' films. 'Prime' grossed $22.8 million domestically, and 'The Producers' grossed $19.3 million.
Then there's 'My Super Ex-Girlfriend' -- a film that pretty much destroyed the film careers of everyone associated with it (and which, based on the premise alone, should have been much, much better). Rainn Wilson has yet to -- quite surprisingly -- latch onto much of a film career. Director Ivan Reitman, who directed 'Ghostbusters' and 'Stripes,' has yet to direct a film since. And Luke Wilson is, well ... Luke Wilson can currently be seen throwing postcards across a map of the United States while he explains the reach of AT&T's cellular service.
It can't be all Thurman's fault, and no one doubts her ability as an actress. A lot of factors can combine to produce deadly outcomes at the box office. We asked Stu VanAirsdale of Movieline.com his opinion on Thuman's recent career.
"It's really easy for all of us to get hung up on a star's bad opening or a hard-luck streak, but let's be realistic," VanAirsdale says, "'Motherhood' was a small film that wasn't supposed to burn up the box office. And people wouldn't even show up to a Miley Cyrus movie if the studio didn't promote it. It's biggest value was always on DVD, where it'll do just fine."
VanAirsdale argues that Thurman's not the only star that should think twice about their recent roles.
"Sure, Thurman's choices could be better, but so could Matt Damon's. He's had the biggest studio flop to date in 2010 ['Green Zone'], and he didn't exactly burn up the charts with 'The Informant' last fall. No one's calling him out, though. Throw him in a 'Bourne' film again, though, and he'll be fine. Same with Thurman: Let's revisit this after 'Kill Bill 3.' She'll be fine."
And VanAirsdale warns: Don't be too quick to judge, considering one of her latest roles. "Did you see her as Medusa in 'Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lighting Thief?' She was the best, campiest, craziest thing about it. Cut her some slack."
Though, if Thurman's box office continues to sink, she might want to take a page from her former co-star, Luke Wilson. Catherine Zeta Jones' reign as T-Mobile spokeswoman can't last forever.
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