How things have changed in just two and a half years: Justin Bieber’s 2011 ‘documentary,’ called “Never Say Never,” was a record breaker. It opened in over 3,000 theaters, backed by Paramount Pictures. The film took in over $73 million total. The publicity and the crowing were endless.
But kids get older. Every teen pop star from Fabian to Bobby Sherman to Shaun Cassidy and Debbie Gibson can tell you that. Justin Bieber’s original fan base isn’t there.
Bieber has some understanding of this. That’s why “Believe,” his new infomercial, opened only on 1,073 screens today. It was also not heavily promoted, and has no advance reviews. It doesn’t come from a major movie studio. Open Road Films, a good smaller firm, is handling it. But they’re being cautious. They must sense a) that “Believe” is just a promotional device, and b) it’s for hard core younger kids, especially outside of the U.S.
Bieber knows it. That’s why he keeps making whiny comments about “retirement.” The box office returns from today will not be anything like “Never Say Never.” So he’s hedging his bets. Instead of trying to get an education, transition into a next stage of career that’s classy, Bieber is set up for a temper tantrum.
Some teen stars make it. Stevie Wonder years ago, and Justin Timberlake recently, plotted smart courses. Bieber should look at them for a way out of this mess. Instead, he’ll probably be high as a kite tomorrow when his manager, Scooter Braun, has to explain the box office results of “Believe.”