Thursday, July 18, 2024

Jennifer Lawrence Opens “Joy” with $17 Mil Weekend: She’s the First Bona Fide Female Star Since Julia Roberts


All hail Jennifer Lawrence. She  opened David O. Russell’s “Joy” with a $17 million weekend. JLaw is now a bona fide movie star at the box office, the first female since Julia Roberts who is really going to make a run of it.

Lawrence already has an Oscar for “Silver Linings Playbook” and box office success with “The Hunger Games.” But these were ensemble films in which Lawrence was featured strongly.

With “Joy,” the movie is really built around her, and the marketing was on her shoulders. She’s surrounded by great actors like Robert DeNiro and Bradley Cooper, and all those wonderful ladies like Diane Ladd, Elisabeth Rohm, and Isabella Rossellini.

In the end though, selling the story of Joy Mangano and her Miracle Mop was all about Lawrence. The audience bought it. I did, too. Rossellini is the breakout surprise, as well.

Lawrence is a likely Oscar nominee for “Joy,” too.  I’d put her in with Cate Blanchett, Charlotte Rampling, Brie Larson, and my favorite choice, Lily Tomlin. That’s my Dream Team of lead actresses for 2016.

“Joy” itself has divided critics, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Russell is tremendous at directing these screwball family comedies with dramatic underpinnings. I’d like to see him try something more like his “Three Kings” next. But “Joy” is a bright spot in a season of serious (and joyless) films.


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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