Cynical Cinema: Don’t Follow Your Passion

*This post was originally published by Kolby Solinsky on Black Press’s network of B.C. websites


by Kolby Solinsky

White Cover Magazine


Passion project. Never say those words, creative types.

They can go either way, and it’s certainly a romantic elevator pitch. It worked out for Mark Wahlberg with The Fighter, and for Sly with Rocky (although that was more about survival than it was about succeeding). But it’s killed the momentum of too many others, certainly a littering of stars who wanted to prove something to us when they didn’t have to prove anything to us – Kevin Costner withWaterworld, director Michael Cimino with Heaven’s Gate, M. Night Shayamalan with everything since Signs, Will Smith with After Earth, Guy Ritchie and Madonna with Swept Away, even Vinnie Chase with Medellin – and with that, you could argue although it’s early, the entire crew behind theEntourage movie.

Add Zac Efron’s We Are Your Friends to that list. Efron didn’t direct it or necessarily control it, but the studio is leaving the film’s embarrassingly paltry $1.8-million opening haul on the Neighbors star’s doormat:

“This was a passion project for Zac Efron, and we believe in him,” said Warners’ Jeff Goldstein. “Yes, the result was disappointing, but this was a small film.”

(You can almost pry the glee from Goldstein’s quote – as if he’s thinking, “Maybe next time, golden boy will listen to us. Artistic types, right?”)

The result – again, $1.8 million – is the third-worst ever for a major studio film’s opening weekend. And it’s surprising, because are good-looking people in it and EDM and references to blogging and everything. (Oddly, this is the kind of bait adults would probably try to lay for the young people nowadays, but it was apparently helmed in the head of someone in their prized demographic. Weird. But nothing turns a teenager off more than someone who’s desperate for their love.)

It doesn’t matter if the movie’s good. It’s reportedly not but, then again, it’s not like there’s a big sample size in the audience. Nobody saw it, remember.

On top, still, would be Straight Outta Compton. Critically and financially, the NWA biopic has been off to the races – it’s acclaimed and it’s accredited, with a $13.2-million weekend bringing its worldwide total to $140.9 million.

War Room and No Escape opened to $11 million and $8.3 million, respectively, and the latestMission: Impossible joint is still earning and has pulled in $479.4 million to-date, globally. (Ironic, since We Are Your Friends wasn’t accepted and self-destructed in five seconds.)

And then there’s The End of the Tour, which has earned only $2.3 million since July 31, but is hardly in a theatre. Call it an extremely limited release. And while it doesn’t have the cash, it has the critics wowed.

VIDEO: We Are Your Friends Trailer

VIDEO: The End of the Tour Trailer