Here's a pop quiz that Universal would probably like moviegoers to take: What did you know about 'Larry Crowne,' besides the fact that it stars Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts? Anything? Why wasn't their combined star power enough to get you to go see it when it opened this past weekend? What else would it have taken to persuade you to go see it?
The romantic comedy, which Hanks also directed and co-wrote, cost a reported $30 million to make but earned just $13 million in its first three days of release, debuting in fourth place on the box office chart. That's one of the weakest openings ever for a film starring either of these two actors, both longtime box office champs.
There will be a lot of handwringing, both at Universal and among movie pundits, worrying that 'Larry Crowne' is a sign that Hanks' and Roberts' star power is on the wane, that maybe they're both getting too old. (He's 54, she's 43.) But both of those concerns are misplaced. Yes, there is a star power drain, but it affects all of Hollywood, not just Hanks and Roberts. The truth is, star power alone isn't enough to sell a movie anymore, particularly one as offbeat as 'Larry Crowne.'