×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘No Good Deed’ Uses Star Power, Social Media to Top Box Office

Star power and social media savvy propelled “No Good Deed” to the top of the box office this weekend.

The $13 million film nearly doubled its production budget in its first three days of release, pulling in an impressive $24.5 million. The home invasion thriller was able to trump box office predictions because Sony and Screen Gems, the companies behind the film, expertly deployed Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson on Twitter to hawk the story of a district attorney menaced by a killer.

“You have two terrific actors who have followings and this weekend showed their collective star power is very powerful,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Rentrak.

Both actors will likely see their stars rise as a result. Elba has had showy supporting roles in “Thor” and “Prometheus,” but hasn’t carried a film to these kind of heights on his own shoulders since 2009’s “Obsessed.” He retains a passionate following from his days playing a drug kingpin on HBO’s “The Wire.”

Henson has an Oscar nomination on her curriculum vitae thanks to 2008’s “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and was part of the “Think Like a Man” ensemble, but hasn’t been front-and-center in a promotional campaign like she was here.

“I wouldn’t call them full on movie stars in their own right,” said Phil Contrino, vice president and analyst with BoxOffice.com. “They’re not bankable on their own terms, but this could certainly change that. Sometimes all it takes is one film.”

The concept of movie stardom has taken its knocks in recent years, as Hollywood has tried and failed to launch a new generation of A-listers to rival the Tom Cruises and Julia Roberts of an earlier era. The old days where an actor’s name above the title was enough to guarantee a big opening weekend have vanished. However, pairing the right actor with the right vehicle can still reap dividends, as evidenced by Liam Neeson’s success playing avenging angels and Melissa McCarthy’s track record with R-rated comedies.

“Taraji and Idris are terrific actors and they both so own their roles in this film,” said Rory Bruer, Sony Pictures’ president of worldwide distribution. “In spots and trailers, they delivered such a great intensity. It’s a terrific opening.”

Sony didn’t rely on star power alone to sell “No Good Deed.” It also orchestrated a clever social media campaign that unspooled across Twitter and Instagram.

On Twitter, the studio put a fresh spin on the Choose Your Own Adventure book series, presenting users with a set of challenges that dared them to outwit a murderer. For fans of Instagram, Sony created an interactive experience made up of images and videos that teased out parts of the film’s plot. That’s cheaper and potentially more potent than a costly television campaign.

“In this new world we live in, you want to be aggressive, and there are more means to do that and interact directly with fans than ever before,” said Contrino.

More Film

  • Picture Tree Intl. Inks First Deals

    Cannes: Picture Tree Intl. Inks First Deals on 'Traumfabrik' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Picture Tree Intl. has clinched first deals on romantic drama “Traumfabrik,” which is produced by Tom Zickler, the former producing partner of German star Till Schweiger. The film has been picked up by Leomus in China; Flins & Piniculas in Spain; LEV Films/Shani Film in Israel; Taiwan in Moviecloud; Media Squad in Czech Rep., Hungary [...]

  • Cannes Film Review: 'Alice and the

    Cannes Film Review: 'Alice and the Mayor'

    Sophomore director Nicolas Pariser follows his politically engaged debut, “The Great Game,” with an even deeper plunge into the disconnect between political theory and the workings of government in the unmistakably French “Alice and the Mayor.” Deeply influenced by Eric Rohmer in the way it aspires to use philosophical dialogue to reveal something about the [...]

  • 'Diego Maradona' Review: The Football Legend

    Cannes Film Review: 'Diego Maradona'

    You expect the director of a biographical documentary to have a passion for whoever he’s making a movie about. But the British filmmaker Asif Kapadia spins right past passion and into obsession. He doesn’t just chronicle a personality — he does an immersive meditation on it. Kapadia plunges into the raw stuff of journalism: news [...]

  • Atlantics

    Emerging Talent From Gallic Cinema

    Variety is teaming with Unifrance, an agency that promotes French cinema around the world, to focus attention on four emerging talents in the French movie industry as part of Unifrance’s “New Faces of French Cinema” program. Here Variety profiles the rising filmmakers: Justine Triet, Eléa Gobbé-Mévellec, Hafsia Herzi and Mati Diop. Mati Diop Born to [...]

  • John Hannah Reunites With ‘The Mummy’

    John Hannah Reunites With ‘The Mummy’ Actors for Horror Pic ‘Lair’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    John Hannah, Corey Johnson and Oded Fehr will star in “Lair,” billed as a socially conscious horror movie about an LGBT family embroiled in one man’s attempt to prove the existence of the supernatural. The trio all appeared in the successful franchise “The Mummy,” and their new picture goes into production later this year. Katarina [...]

  • Loving Vincent Animation Oscars

    Adult Audience Animation: Cannes Panel Talks Big-Screen Strategy

    CANNES–A panel of leading animation industry executives gathered during the Cannes Film Market on Sunday to shed light on their strategies for the theatrical release of adult-oriented animated features. It was a timely conversation at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Five of the 28 animated projects in the Marché du Film are adult audience-focused, including [...]

  • Lea Drucker poses with the Best

    French Filmmaker Axelle Ropert Readies 'Petite Solange' With MK2 Films (EXCLUSIVE)

    French writer/director Axelle Ropert is set to direct “Petite Solange,” a film that will star Léa Drucker and Philippe Katerine, who won the best acting nods at this year’s Cesar Awards for their performances in “Custody” and “Sink or Swim,” respectively. MK2 films will handle international sales. Haut et Court has acquired rights for French [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content