Home Movies Bieber Fever Spiked: New Doc in Two Thirds Fewer Theaters, With Smaller...

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.”



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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.
13 replies to this post
  1. Not a Beiber fan at all but if his teen fame is truly declining as reported then he should do what is fulfilling to him and and not what people around him think he should do. Success is not necessarily following the likes of Timberlake. Success may mean different things for Beiber. If he still wants to record music, so be it. If he wants to retire..for a little while then he should. Another teen idol mentioned is Shaun Cassidy. He moved on from teen fame to perform on stage and did very well and was successful. Then he did what he loved..write and produce and again did it very well and is successful. And his proudest achievement is his family.

  2. Is it possible that Beiber is finding he really has a conscience, and is seeing that swimming with the celebrity wave, just for the money is the empty hole that it is? It would be great if this was what is going on with him. I doubt it, but hard to say yet. It must be such an empty feeling to do the same thing over and over forever, listening to the screaming fans that you don’t want anything to do with just for the money. Just me. I would rather just have a real job.

  3. I disagree with Roger Friedman’s tone here. Retiring is the smartest thing he can do. Virtually every other pop star clings to their careers through embarrassing albums or nostalgia shows. He knows his limitations and by retiring he’s acknowledging you can only take it so far and this gives him a chance to live a normal life with a fat bankroll. He’s actually showing humility and maturity, considering his management is probably begging him to milk every last penny until he drops. Good for Beebs!

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