Countdown: One Week to Julie & Julia

by Melissa Silverstein on July 31, 2009

in Actresses,Box Office,Women Directors

While The Proposal with Sandra Bullock has exceeded expectations, we all know the one movie that women have been waiting for all summer is now only one week away — Julie and Julia.  I have a sense that women are going to come out and see this in droves and in groups with many leaving the hubby or partner at home.  The competition at the national level is pretty slim on opening weekend (GI Joe) so it will pretty much get every woman and hopefully men interested in an alternative.

Tracking shows the film opening at $20 million and I think that is a low estimate, but it is opening on 2,300 screens and not 3,000, so that will have an effect on the gross.  Looking back at Mamma Mia, last summer it opened on 2,976 screens and grossed almost $28 million on opening weekend and it was against the Dark KnightThe Devil Wears Prada from the summer of 2006 opened on 2,847 screens and grossed $27 million on its opening weekend.  I guess I am surprised that the film is not opening on more screens to take advantage of past history.

UPDATE 8/6: Just checked the theatre counts for opening night and the film will be opening in almost 3,000 theatres.  I bet it clears $30 million for the weekend.

With all due respect to Amy Adams who is carving out a nice career for herself, the reason why people will see this film is because of Meryl Streep.  She is a movie star and if this film does well she’ll be one of the only stars to have had a good summer.   The guy stars (Russell Crowe, Denzel Washington, John Travolta) their films did not do well.

According to the Hollywood Reporter she got paid $5 million for Julie & Julia and her asking price has now gone up to $7 or $8 million and she gets first dollars off the back end gross. I know that $5 million and $8 million are awesomely huge figures but she should make $20 million just like the big boys.  She can open a movie.  If she wants to be in a movie the movie gets greenlighted.  Brad Pitt just had his latest movie collapse (from the same studio releasing Julie & Julia) so his presence did not guarantee the film will get made.

I know I’m a big Streep cheerleader but I also want to put it out there that she works with women A LOT.  Mamma Mia, directed by Phyllida Lloyd; Julie & Julia, directed by Nora Ephron; It’s Complicated (the newly released title of her next film coming out on Christmas day) is directed by Nancy Meyers.

I don’t want to heap the pressure on her but she gives women of all ages, especially Hollywood actresses, hope.

Streep is a walking rebuttal to the persistent ageism that sidelines so many actresses. As such female stars as Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts, Naomi Watts and Sandra Bullock wade into their 40s — which conventional wisdom holds is a wasteland for “aging” actresses — surely there is promise in Streep’s longevity.

From Nora Ephron:

This thing of hers, where she is as hot as Will Smith, it’s hilarious, and it is such amazing news for those of us who write movies that she’s perfect for.”

Are you going to go see Julie & Julia on opening weekend?  Show some love for Meryl and make those plans now.  Anyone want to go with me here in NY?

Meryl Streep: Bankable Franchise (HR)
Streep, Adams, Ephron: Recipe for success in ‘Julie & Julia‘ (USA Today)

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