Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Clint Eastwood: Trouble for “Curve” Caused by Chair Speech


UPDATE SUNDAY AFTERNOON: “Curve” did very poorly, with $12.7 million for the weekend.

Friday: Clint Eastwood’s “Trouble with the Curve,” a baseball movie, is going to strike out this weekend. Last night it made a paltry $4.1 million on over 3,000 screens. The movie, with Amy Adams and former singer Justin Timberlake, is suffering the consequences of bad timing.

Clint, a national  landmark, a great great guy, director and actor, is taking the consequences of his now infamous speech in front of the Republican National Convention. He addressed President Barack Obama by using an empty chair on stage. Ridicule and parody followed. And now this.

You could say that Clint has a double whammy this weekend. Ths speech is not the only problem for “Curve,” a baseball movie. It’s not about the Blackberry Curve. It should have been released in late August, with a graduated pattern like his masterpiece, “Gran Torino.” Instead, Warner Bros. pushed it out to a wide, wide number of screens–over 3,000–a week before the end of official baseball season. And it flopped. “Curve” did about $4.2 million on Fright night. Strike one.

Strikes two and three will come tonight and Sunday, and then “Curve” will be out. “Gran Torino” made $148 million. “Curve” will be lucky to do half that.

The whole thing is a shame. Clint Eastwood and I do not share the same politics, and it doesn’t matter. I am among his biggest fans. His Oscar winning “Unforgiven” is among the besf films of all time. A classic. “Million Dollar Baby” and “Mystic River” are solid, memorable films. “Gran Torino,” I thought, was a masterpiece. And these are just his recent works. Much of the early, iconic stuff–the Dirty Harry movies, “In the Line of Fire” and so many more rank among Hollywood’s best.

Eastwood has always been a maverick film maker. Even though Warner Bros. has released most of his films, he produces them himself. He fell in love with Nelson Mandela and made “Invictus.” And while I’m not crazy about his family’s reality TV show, now is not the time to ditch Clint because of a chair. Go see “Curve” this weekend. And remember: everyone loves Neil Diamond, and he once sang “I am, I said, to no one else, not even the chair.” We forgave him for that.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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