Amelia grossed about $ 4 million at about 818 theatres this weekend at the box office. Not that good. But the fact that it grossed almost $5,000 per screen even with the bad reviews shows that there is a desperate need for films that appeal to older women (that means women over 25 in movie business terminology). I also believe that the icon Amelia Earhart resonates very strong feelings among women who feel she is a role model for generations of women.
Here’s what Variety said about the box office this weekend:
Searchlight’s “Amelia” was the clear choice among older females, who made up more than 60% of the audience. Film played well across top markets despite generally poor reviews. The studio specialty arm believes the film did well enough to have legs.
I honestly am not surprised that the film did not do better. My feelings for Amelia which I wrote about last week was very, very mixed. I really liked the premise, but a premise does not make a successful film and this one is far from successful. It’s just plain not good. One of the things I struggle with on this site is trying to be supportive of films by and about women when they fall short. I try to see the glass half full when the bottom is staring at me like it was in the crowded theatre last week.
So how did this happen? How did a film with such a great pedigree, great cast, accomplished writers and director make a film that doesn’t work?
I can’t really answer the question I just posed, but to me it’s illuminated in the difference between the trailers. The first trailer was about Amelia, the woman, the icon, the trailblazer, and second trailer put out closer to release trailer focuses more on the romance between Amelia and George Putnam- her backer and husband. If I never see another man say to his wife as she is about to embark on the most important event of her life “come back to me” it will be too soon. That line illuminates to me where the film went wrong. Why did they think a romance between Amelia and George would engage audiences more than a strong female icon in history? NEW THOUGHT: Also their marriage seemed so bizarre with him seeming so needy. I just look to the great, equal marriage between Julia and Paul Child in Julie & Julia as an example of creating a partnership that works in a film.
The minute they decided to focus play up the romance more than the accomplishments of this amazing woman they were screwed because it lost its focus. Check out the difference between the trailers.
Did you see the film this weekend? What did you think about it?