Wow! Didn’t see that coming. Of course Iron Man 3 and The Great Gatsby were on the top of the this weekend's B.O. chart with Gatsby, which was predicted by many to be one the first major flops of this summer season, doing much better than anyone expected, grossing $51 million, while IR3, to date, has earned some $950 million worldwide.
But let’s get to the real surprise which was how disastrously Tyler Perry’s Peeples performed this weekend, not even cracking $5 million. And this means that the film won’t even make back
its very modest $15 million
production budget, and it will be out of most theaters by the end of the week.
So what in the hell happened?
I admit I was surprised too. Of course it was up against some heavy hitters and no one expected it to do big numbers. But one would think that it would find its niche audience and do reasonably well.
And you would think that with Tyler Perry’s name attached to it, it would have had a guaranteed audience. But not even they showed up for it and, needless to say, it’s far and away the lowest box office opening for anything with Perry’s name associated with it.
But here are a few reasons I could come up with for the film's surprising results:
Wrong movie/wrong time - It was released at a really bad time, right at the beginning of the big summer movie season. And with so many other options that people have been anxiously anticipating to see, no one was in the mood for a lightweight comedy. It should have come out either earlier this year or pushed back until later in the season, when people had had their fill of big, bloated, CGI infested spectaculars.
Marketing problems – The trailer wasn’t particularly funny; the various one sheets for the film weren’t great (that one with the pictures of the three leads mugging was especially atrocious), and Lionsgate never got a real grasp on how to market the film. Aside from the fact that the film’s release date was moved around several times for almost a year (Peeples was shot back in 2010/2011), potential filmgoers could sense there was something wrong with the film, and stayed away... which leads to…
Bad movie – The film wasn’t good anyway. As a friend of mine, who saw it at an earlier preview before I did, said to me, the film was “cut to shit”. Exactly. It was a very choppily edited film in which most of the comedy never seemed to flow naturally, or was allowed to build up to any punch. Instead it seemed to meander, several times setting up situations with no follow through. And there was that whole lesbian subplot that was more of a guy’s fantasy, which then chickens out at the crucial minute. I mean, finally, a real reason for guys to see a movie that Perry is involved with (some girl/girl action) and the film cops out! DAMN IT!.
The performances were all over the place. David Alan Grier, who is one of the funniest people alive, gave a one note, sour puss performance. I kept waiting for him to do something, anything, even remotely funny. Meanwhile Kerry Washington was so hyper and frantic that she was almost bouncing off the walls. And poor Diahann Carroll was totally wasted. Why is she in the film if you’re not going to use her? Perhaps S. Epatha Mekerson came off the best, because she was the most sympathetic and human character in the entire film.
There's evidence of some major post-production problems with its erratic editing, and the constant shifting of release dates and titles, going from Meet the Peeples to simply Tyler Perry’s Peeples, all indicating that the studio had a film in trouble.
Is it Robinson or was it the part? - I interviewed him, and, in fact, we interviewed him twice, for the site and we can all attest that Craig Robinson is just a very funny and super nice guy. And he definitely worked his ass off to promote the film as well. But he simply doesn’t have that “star quality” needed to play a lead role. He’s fine on TV and he’s a solid supporting actor, but he’s just not leading man material.
However there very much could be a lead role for him out there which he’s perfect for, but Peeples wasn’t it. It didn’t play to his comedic strengths, which lean more towards the edgy and definitely off-the-wall. In the film, he came off as a rather bland, nice guy, but that’s the way the role was written. Better luck next time.
The failure of Peeples is also bad news because it could lead to Perry becoming reluctant to support other filmmakers to make, and will force him to restrict himself more than ever and just do his own stuff instead.
What do you think went wrong?
1) Iron Man 3 BV $72,472,000 Total: $284,893,000
2) The Great Gatsby WB $51,115,000
3) Pain and Gain Par. $5,000,000 Total: $41,608,000
4) Tyler Perry Presents Peeples LGF $4,850,000
5) 42 WB $4,650,000 -Total: $84,732,000
6) Oblivion Uni. $3,864,000 Total: $81,655,000
7) The Croods Fox $3,600,000 Total: $173,215,000
8) The Big Wedding LGF $2,500,000 Total: $18,288,000
9) Mud RAtt. $2,343,000 Total: $8,363,000
10) Oz The Great and Powerful BV $802,000 Total: $229,985,000
11) Scary Movie 5 W/Dim. $706,000 Total: $30,644,000
12) The Place Beyond the Pines Focus $675,000 Total: $19,967,000