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Affleck Tried to Save 'Runner Runner' with His 'Argo' Editor, but Audiences Avoided Timberlake

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by Anne Thompson
October 9, 2013 12:50 PM
6 Comments
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Ben Affleck in 'Runner Runner'
William Goldenberg

William Goldenberg took home the editing Oscar for "Argo" and was nominated for "Zero Dark Thirty" in the same year. So when Ben Affleck, back in actor-for-hire mode, saw that his new movie "Runner Runner" needed an overhaul, he called in the best, reports THR, to try and salvage the wreck. Why? It's in any star's interest to make the movie as good as possible. 

If you're Brad Pitt, you persuade your old manager now running the Paramount studio, Brad Grey, to invest in a costly reshoot of the last 40 minutes of the film and a VFX reboot. In that case, the studio pulled out of the red with critically hailed global hit "World War Z." 

That did not happen with Twentieth Century Fox/New Regency's $30 million "Runner, Runner," which stars Affleck as a powerful gambling kingpin who pulls Justin Timberlake into his orbit. Affleck clearly relishes playing the villain here, while Timberlake has yet to prove himself as a star who can put butts in seats; he's better as a well-cast supporting player, as in "The Social Network," "Trouble with the Curve" and "Inside Llewyn Davis." Other Timberlake flops include "In Time," "The Open Road," and "Friends with Benefits."

"Runner Runner," directed by Brad Furman ("The Lincoln Lawyer") opened to $7.7 million, a C CinemaScore and 8% on the Tomatometer. (A sampling of reviews here.) 

Affleck might have been better off applying his smarts to the original script he signed off on. While "Oceans" series scribes Brian Koppelman & David Levien have chops, clearly this movie offered audiences nothing that they wanted to see. 


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6 Comments

  • Benny | October 9, 2013 9:45 PMReply

    I dunno this Anne Thompson writer,but to call 'In Time' (40 million budget,$173,930,596 gross worldwide) and 'Friends With Benefits' (35 million budget,$149,542,245 worldwide)...to call those movies "FLOPS"....well it's just stupid.I mean,seriously.Just plain dumb.You may not like 'em,but clearly,those flicks weren't "flops" by any means.Use The Google,Anne,that's what you're paid for.

  • tyler4all | October 9, 2013 6:07 PMReply

    Don't put all the blame on Timberlake. While he should keep making music and leave acting to the actors, was anyone buying Affleck as a gambling kingpin? haha, please. even for half a second? no. end of story. bad casting on both ends.

  • VSJ | October 9, 2013 2:13 PMReply

    Clearly a casting issue. From a marketing position, this film would largely appeal to an audience of young males. Justin Timberlake is too old for this role, marginal actor at best, and largely appeals to 30 something year old females in his age group (Due to a career steeped in 90's bubble gum pop music). Timberlake would be more appropriate in Romantic Comedy projects, as this is where the interest of his core audience resides.

  • J. Bridges | October 9, 2013 1:52 PMReply

    Both those movies were FLOPS. They made no $$ back after all the arms and payouts. Stop defending them. They were both trash.

  • Anne Thompson | October 9, 2013 1:24 PMReply

    In Time and Friends with Benefits topped out domestically at $35 million and $55 million, respectively. The first cost $40 million, the second $35 million. Add marketing costs to that. Half of ticket sales is returned to the distributor.

  • J.S. | October 9, 2013 1:16 PMReply

    In Time and Friends with Benefits weren't exactly great movies, but they were hardly flops.

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