Thursday, May 30, 2024

Liz Taylor and Richard Burton Survived “Cleopatra,” Can JLaw and Darren Aronofsky Overcome “Mother!”???


Meeting on Hollywood sets is fairly common for stars and their directors. Superstar Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence met director Darren Aronofsky when she went to shoot his intellectual horror film “Mother!” But will they be able to outlast the movie’s negative—actually scathing—reviews and bad box office? That’s a tough one. “Mother!” not only garnered F from audiences on CinemaScore over the weekend, veteran critic Rex Reed called it “the worst movie of the century.”

Most of the A list couples who meet on movies only stay together if the movie is a hit. One example of a couple who soldiered on after a huge flop is Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz. Their 2011 “Dream House,” directed by Jim Sheridan, turned out to be a nightmare. It made just $21 million despite Weisz’s previous Oscar and Craig’s James Bond fame. What saved them? A hit run on Broadway in Harold Pinter’s “Betrayal” two years later softened the blow. As far as anyone knows, they are still together.

And maybe the most famous example of a couple who made it past the blame phase of a movie’s failure were Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Their ten year marriage took place just after “Cleopatra” was one of the biggest failures in Hollywood history. “Cleopatra” was such a disaster it almost bankrupted 20th Century Fox. Luckily, no matter how badly “Mother!” shakes out, Paramount and Viacom will continue to make movies.

But most of the time, romance fades when success is eluded. Tom Cruise saw it happen twice—first with Nicole Kidman on “Eyes Wide Shut” and then with Penelope Cruz on “Vanilla Sky.” The experience of the original “Flatliners” was so bad that Julia Roberts literally left Kiefer Sutherland waiting at the altar. And of course, “By the Sea” was so polluted that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie – who directed the film they co-starred in—had the biggest split of the last decade.

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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