This is a very important weekend for Kristen Stewart’s career. Well, let’s rephrase that. Kristen Stewart might not think it’s an important weekend in her acting career, but her agents certainly do.
Stewart’s latest commercially friendly flick “The Runaways” opens in 225 theaters around the country Friday. It’s not a huge theater count whatsoever, but it’s enough to judge whether the rock biopic can really make an impact with audiences. Based on how strong the per screen is, distributor Apparition will expand “Runaways” around the country. It’s also a departure from last spring’s wider opening strategy (1,800 theaters) for “Adventureland,” a coming of age comedy starring Jesse Eisenberg that Miramax tried to market on Stewart’s name after the phenomenal success of “Twilight.” Unfortunately, their big spend yielded disappointing results . Despite positive reviews, “Adventureland” opened to only $5.7 million and reached an eventual cume of just $16 million. Not bad for an indie comedy, but pretty awful considering Stewart’s perceived star power, good notices and an expensive media campaign. Stewart’s recent track record isn’t much better. She did a significant amount of press for “The Yellow Handkerchief,” but even in extremely limited release few members of her rabid fanbase showed up to check the drama out.
Making things more dicey for Stewart and her “Twilight” co-stars is the incredibly weak opening of Robert Pattinson’s “Remember Me” last weekend. In 2,100 theaters, the romantic drama found just $8 million. Word is Summit is blaming the opening on bad reviews, but the fact so few of the “star’s” fanbase didn’t come out to see their idol in a compelling role where he wasn’t playing a vampire named Edward will not endear the Brit to Hollywood studios.
Meanwhile, with only a cameo in the blockbuster “Valentine’s Day” to his credit since the success of “New Moon,” Taylor Lautner is reportedly receiving a massive $7.5 million payday to star in Universal’s “Stretch Armstrong.” That Hasbro toy adaptation won’t hit theaters possibly until 2012, so it’s hard to judge whether he has more marquee power than Stewart or Pattinson yet. Still, many in Hollywood perceive it as a huge gamble.
No one is doubting that together the trio make “The Twilight Saga” one of the most successful movie franchises out there, but alone their starpower may be much less potent. Will Stewart become a true screen ingenue or is she destined to spend most of her days in indie fare such as next fall’s “Welcome to the Rileys”? She may have her own preferences, but at some point she’ll need to knock another one out of the park if she wants to continue to to be more than just another “Twilight” celebrity.
As for those who just can’t get enough of “The Runaways” in general, you can find a quick and insightful interview with Michael Shannon (“Revolutionary Road”) embedded on this page. Shannon plays Kim Fowley, a music industry fixture who has been hailed for discovering (or creating in some people’s opinions) band like The Runaways and despised for some of his outrageous behavior and actions over the years. Additionally, there are five sneak peek clips from “The Runaways” that give a true tease as to the style of a music biopic that might be 100% historically accurate, but certainly isn’t afraid to let the ladies rock
“The Runaways” opens nationwide on Friday.