Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search


'Transformers' vs. 'Larry Crowne': Machines trump movie stars at the metroplex

Blockbuster CGI movie 'Transformers: Dark of the Moon' has already taken in more money than new romantic comedy 'Larry Crowne' is likely to, as they battle for Fourth of July weekend moviegoers.

By Staff writer / July 1, 2011

In this photo provided by StarPix, Shia LaBeouf poses at the premiere of 'Transformers: Dark of the Moon' on Tuesday, June 28, in New York's Times Square. The third installment in the 'Transformers' series opens against the Julia Roberts and Tom Hanks romantic comedy, 'Larry Crowne.'

Dave Allocca / AP

Enlarge

Los Angeles

It’s holiday weekend smackdown time at the multiplex. With “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” in one corner and “Larry Crowne” in the other, it’s officially machines versus movie stars. And from budgets to audience buzz, things are looking bleak for the flesh-and-blood icons.

Skip to next paragraph

It’s all part of a longer-term waning of the movie star era, says Hollywood.com box office analyst Paul Dergarabedian.

“Movie stars are not driving films so much anymore,” he says. “It’s the concept, the special effects, and – more and more – the marketing departments of the film studio calling the shots.”

The event has begun to replace the story or the star, says Dustin Morrow, an independent filmmaker and professor at Temple University in Philadelphia. “More money is spent on marketing than making films now, so the focus is the campaign rather than the film,” he says.

Robots vs. romance: How do the movies stack up?

The third installment of the Michael Bay robot extravaganza, budgeted at roughly $200 million, towers over the $15 million, Tom Hanks-loves-Julia Roberts romantic comedy.

The robots have already pulled in some $64 million in US theaters alone, just from the blockbuster’s mid-week opening. According to Mr. Dergarabedian, the romantic comedy “may” pull in what it cost to make, over the four-day weekend.

Reviews aren’t helping much. Both films are mired in the mid-30s on the Rotten Tomatoes website. The Los Angeles Times critic, Kenneth Turan, dubbed Crowne “hollow and shockingly unconvincing.”

Permissions

Read Comments

View reader comments | Comment on this story