Two of the greatest divas of our time have come to blows again at the box office. Funny, it’s a “battle” they didn’t even know they were in. But in today’s world, movies are dismissed after a poor opening at the box office.
So, according to Madeline Boardman at the Huffington Post, Barbra Streisand’s “The Guilt Trip” is a flop after its meager opening while Bette Midler’s “Parental Guidance” has been declared a moderate hit. It’s been less than two weeks since “Trip” came to town and just short of a week since the arrival of “Parental” yet their fate, like most movies, seems decided the morning after their opening.
With a modest (by today’s standards) budget of $40 million, “The Guilt Trip” and its 12 day take of $21.1 million may not be the “flop” as first professed. And sure, Bette’s ahead this time around with her holiday offering, making $29.5 million in six days. Barbra’s movie seems to have done better with critics (36% favorable according to rottentomatoes.com vs. Bette’s 17% positive reviews). But both seem to run neck-in-neck with audiences at IMDB (even though the public who responds to Rotten Tomatoes gives Bette 68% positive reviews while Barbra’s film gets 51%). Furthermore, the industry standard, CinemaScore, gives Barbra a B- and Bette an A-.
It will be interesting to see how both films play out in this very competitive box office season. Eleven movies opened in the last two weeks and they are all being clobbered by “The Hobbit.” Then, when Oscar nominations come out, there will likely be a big push for potential nominees like “Les Miserables” and “Zero Dark Thirty” leaving both Barbra and Bette in the dust.
Bette and Barbra matched up before in 1991.
That year Barbra and her “The Prince of Tides” was clearly the “winner” (for lack of a better term). Her film went on to get seven Oscar nominations including Best Picture and it made $74.7 million domestically.
Bette’s “For the Boys” inched its way through the winter season, making only $17.8 million. It did get one Oscar nomination – and it was a biggie – Bette Midler for Best Actress.
Oddly, with all of the forecasters for box office performance, when they consider a movie a “flop” the day after it opens they don’t consider its afterlife on pay-per-view, DVD, streaming and the like. Also, while the Huffington Post writes all about the failure of “The Guilt Trip” – the column of Liz Smith comes to its defense: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/liz-smith/the-holiday-seasons-gentl_b_2375…
P.S. Before you write in, yes I am biased. I am a Barbra fan. But we expect a lot from her as she makes few movies. I wasn’t disappointed (and with Bette Midler’s movie either!)