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Let's Not Put an Obit on Melissa McCarthy's Career Post-'Tammy'

Box Office
by Melissa Silverstein
July 11, 2014 4:00 PM
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From my latest Forbes post on how the press is wrong about Tammy:

Melissa McCarthy’s film Tammy grossed $21.5 million last weekend and it has grossed $36 million since it opened a week ago on July 2. The film had a budget of $20 million – not including the marketing costs. So even if you add in another $20 million for marketing (the exact number is never released), the total money spent will be around $40 million. In terms of the math, the film will probably become profitable as of this weekend. Yet, according to everything that has been written about the film, it is a huge disaster. But really, is it?

Read more at Forbes.

Box Office
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  • Sierra Lantz | July 18, 2014 6:31 PMReply

    The ending of this article was superb, in which the author stated that women like Melissa McCarthy need to continue to be lead in film because "we need movies about people who look like Melissa McCarthy on our screen." This is important because as also stated, she directly hits on issues of class that are brought up by obesity and self-esteem. McCarthy is not the typical "woman" seen in Hollywood films--and especially not as the main role in the film. It's clear that the intersection of being a woman and being considered by American society as "overweight" is something about McCarthy that critics feel the need to attack. She is an easier target because she doesn't fit into conventional Hollywood standards for a woman. Even if the film didn't break box office records, the fact that exposure of a woman who doesn't fit into the social "box" of beautiful in Hollywood is being recognized is in itself important. We need more women who look like more types of women in the audiences watching the films. Women who go against gender roles and norms and don't feel the need to fit into the "feminine" box to feel strong, beautiful, or self-confident.

    Additionally, I thought it was interesting to read the comparison of another "obese" actor who is a man--Kevin James. James plays the same types of characters in films and is also not considered Hollywood's typical version of an "attractive man", however he doesn't face the amount or type of criticism McCarthy is facing. This is patriarchy at work; McCarthy is an easier target because she is a woman.

    Another thing I greatly appreciated about this article is the fact that it took into account the context of the movie Tammy in the box office. Though the film isn't blowing up the box office, the author does an incredible job asserting the facts: compared to last year, every other film in the box office currently doesn't compare. Moreover, this article wonderfully covers issues of intersectionality when it comes to Melissa McCarthy as an overweight, confident, strong woman playing a lead role in a Hollywood film.

  • Bonnie Weiss | July 12, 2014 5:46 PMReply

    I will wait to reserve my comments until I see Tammy. Melissa McCarthy is a naturally funny lady and funny films make people happy. Maybe there shouldn't be such huge budgets to make a film and then expect it to make the money back in the first week. Hollywood needs to "grow up".

    FYI---LOSING CONTROL is coming back on the scene. It is back in the "CONTROL" of Valerie Weiss, writer, director. The venues will soon be named. The movie is still funny, smart, and so well written. Produced, written, and directed by Valerie Weiss, Jeff Loeb and Rob Johnson under PHD PRODUCTION, Valerie's Company, It is sure to be a return hit. Netflix had it as a 5 star film. Now Val has it back and hopes those who missed it the first time, will look for it again. Good Luck to Melissa McCarthy and Valerie Weiss

  • DougW | July 12, 2014 12:42 AMReply

    Don't forget, the studio is only collecting half of the box office receipts.
    I think the sense with this film is that it's too much Melissa and she took her film persona too far. Also, it has no clear hook. All we know from ads is she holds up a fast food place.
    The good news is her next film "Susan Cooper" has a strong hook, a co-star in Jason Staham playing a superspy, and is being directed by Paul Feig

  • Michael | July 14, 2014 2:52 PM

    Ditto, Doug. From what I have read, the studio only takes 55 percent of the receipts, which means that Tammy will ultimately be profitable, but not by much.

    Melissa - In your June 30 column, the headline called McCarthy a "box office powerhouse," then your next column gives all reasons why it is not her fault. I saw the movie, and while I wouldn't call it a good movie, I did enjoy myself. But she is nowhere near "powerhouse" status. The excuses you came up with for Tammy's poor performance wouldn't factor in for someone who is a lock for at least $100 million at the box office.

    From all the reviews I read about Tammy, and I did read a lot of them, many of them were very complimentary of McCarthy. The critics could have been harsher, but it seemed that they were largely going out of their way to be non-critical.

    Your comparison to Kevin James is somewhat apt, although I would consider McCarthy to have greater cultural capital at the moment. James does have a number of movies that have made well past $150 million, but he is not the talent that MM is.

    I don't even think that McCarthy has to be careful in her next moves. From reading on her upcoming work, she will be just fine. But I think we can safely say that she is not a completely bankable solo star just yet, although I am rooting for her.

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