Hollywood studios traditionally avoid releasing their big guns on Super bowl weekend, but have strategically opened female-skewing pictures as they have always assumed men are too busy go to the movies on Sunday. Of course, the mammoth audience for America’s biggest game has always been about half women, but stereotypes persist. Screen Gems is going one step further this Friday when it debuts the big screen adaptation of the best-selling Nicolas Sparks novel “Dear John.” And, surprise, pre-release tracking shows a big hit on the horizon.
The potential “Avatar” box office-killer is a romance that begins in the Spring of 2001 when John (Channing Tatum), a soldier on shore leave, meets the incredibly well off, but down to earth Savannah (Amanda Seyfried) during a chance encounter on the beach. It’s love at first sight, but 9/11 rears its ugly head and John soon finds himself continually retuning overseas to defend his country while Savannah tries to remain happy at home. The couple also have difficult supporting characters in their lives. John’s father is borderline autistic (a nice turn by Richard Jenkins) and Savannah’s longtime family friend Tim (a nice to see you again Henry Thomas) is battling cancer. Will they be able to find peace with each other when all is said and done? The film is refreshingly not as predictable as the scenario might seem and both Tatum, Seyfried and “working for a paycheck” director Lasse Hallstrom (“The Cider House Rules,” “Chocolat”) try to elevate the material past its melodramatic origins. But if you’re looking for a tearjerker, “Dear John” is for you.
Speaking to the duo last month, both Seyfried and Tatum were relieved (or thrilled?) to discover the young teenage girls at the screening the night before (no doubt fans of the book) were crying afterward because they were so moved. Tatum debates whether this really is his most serious role yet (we say yes) and Seyfried divulges that it was Hallstrom who convinced her to sing in the film.
Check out the interviews embedded below.
For tickets and more info on “Dear John,” click here.