Entertainment behind the scenes
Sandra Bullock scores touchdown at box office
It’s been a wild year at the box office for Sandra Bullock, whose report card this decade has been middling at best.
The actress, 45, returned to theaters for the first time in more than two years in June with the romantic comedy “The Proposal,” which went on to become the biggest film of her career (before accounting for inflation), with $164 million in domestic ticket sales. But then came her September stinker, “All About Steve,” which was one of her weakest entries with $34 million in ticket sales. She is pictured at the premiere of the latter film, looking happier than she should have been.
Bullock bounced back this weekend with the sports drama “The Blind Side,” which kicked off with $34.5 million, a personal best. The opening was good enough for a distant No. 2 behind “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” ($140.7 million, but who’s counting?).
Critics and fans embraced the fact-based saga of a Tennessee housewife who takes in a homeless black teenager and turns him into a football hero. John Lee Hancock (“The Rookie”) directed from an adaptation of Michael Lewis’ book “The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game.” It scored a 70 percent positive rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, compared to 30 percent for the “Twilight” sequel. Exit polling conducted by CinemaScore gave it an exceedingly rare A-plus across all demographics. There’s even talk of an Oscar nod, which would be a first for the two-time Golden Globe nominee.
“The Blind Side” was produced for $29 million by Alcon Entertainment, which specializes in female-skewing fare like the “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” movies. The company is financed by FedEx Corp Chairman Frederick W. Smith, and it has a distribution deal with Warner Bros. Pictures.
Bullock cut her undisclosed fee to star in the film, but will share in the profits. “She’ll make quite a bit of money on the movie,” said Broderick Johnson, who runs Alcon with Andrew Kosove.
Johnson predicted the movie would enjoy “a remarkable run” in North America, and reach the $150 million level. But how will it play overseas? American sports dramas have limited foreign appeal, and so the marketing will emphasize the human-interest side. The strategy seemed to work in North America, where women accounted for 55 percent of the audience. Johnson said the international rollout will be worked out next week, but it would likely be spearheaded by launches in the Bullock strongholds of Britain and Germany (her late mother’s homeland).