This time last year, Ben Affleck was riding an “Argo”-fueled high, with the pic generating awards buzz and solid box office receipts. Now, the Oscar-winning multihyphenate has come — and gone, it seems — quietly, starring alongside Justin Timberlake in the dismally reviewed action film, “Runner Runner.”
The $30 million-budgeted film, which Fox distributed, marks the follow-up to director Brad Furman’s 2011 hit “The Lincoln Lawyer,” though the former film never hit full speed in the lead up to opening weekend, grossing a meager $7.6 million, less than what even most rival studios had predicted.
Why wasn’t the one-two punch of Affleck (Batman, himself) and Timberlake (JT!) unable to gain momentum for “Runner Runner”? Bad buzz, plus “Gravity.”
“Runner Runner,” the poor-boy-tries-to-make-it-rich-only-to-be-double-crossed story, was overshadowed greatly by Warner Bros.’ fellow opener “Gravity,” which scored a record-setting October opening of $55.6 million. In fact, audiences had been buzzing about “Gravity” for months leading up to its release; back in August, the 3D space odyssey ranked among the top ten buzziest fall films, according to social media listening firm Fizziology.
The “been-there/done-that” plot of “Runner Runner” is reminiscent of another recent box office bomb — Relativity’s thriller “Paranoia,” which so far has grossed only $7.4 million total domestic. That pic, however, lacked the star wattage of either Affleck or Timberlake. Instead, it had just Liam Hemsworth to attract youngsters.
It seems neither Affleck nor Timberlake has much pull with under-25 auds, as well.
“Runner Runner” earned an overwhelming 70% of its opening from filmgoers over 25 — and unfortunately for the Fox pic, which received 8% on Rotten Tomatoes, making it one of the worst reviewed films so far this year, “Gravity” was the clear No. 1 choice for adults this weekend.
Regardless, “Runner Runner” already has matched its production budget in worldwide grosses. Fox launched the film internationally last weekend, and in two weeks, the film has grossed $23.6 million overseas, with $31.2 million globally. Pic’s domestic prospects are dismal, however.