Thursday, July 18, 2024

Bieber Fever Spiked: New Doc in Two Thirds Fewer Theaters, With Smaller Distributor


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.”



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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