With Comic-Con teasing exciting new things in San Diego, the weekend's box office looks particularly depressing: and that has a lot to do with Ryan Reynolds, former movie star.
Well, okay. Backing up, it was debatable whether we could call Reynolds a movie star in the first place. Back in 2011—just after The Green Lantern flopped hard—Bill Simmons at Grantland wrote: "When Green Lantern badly underperformed last weekend, it shouldn't have been surprising, because Reynolds isn't a movie star (despite Hollywood's best efforts to convince us otherwise)." But this weekend it's looking even worse for Reynolds. He's in the big budget bust R.I.P.D., which is currently getting savaged in reviews, and voices the titular racing snail in the animated Turbo. Both movies could possibly fall to horror film The Conjuring.
As Stuart Oldham writes at Variety, The Conjuring—made for only $20 million—had a great Thursday night with an estimated $3.3 million from late screenings and presale tickets. It could have a $25 million or higher opening. Meanwhile the $130 million R.I.P.D. will likely only "debut in the high teens," according to Oldham. Though its not clear just where it will land, the $135 million Turbo won't lose a kiddie market to The Conjuring, but only make about $24 million, the lowest debut ever for DreamWorks Animation. Variety's Andrew Stewart also wondered if it could be a weekend of two "misfires" for Reynolds.
Of course, you can't blame this all on Reynolds. Turbo is an animated film not relying in any way on Reynolds' face, and Reynold's voiced a character in the DreamWorks Animation success The Croods. Additionally, Reynolds may be the least of the problems R.I.P.D.—a Men in Black/Ghostbusters hybrid—faces. In fact, in Bilge Ebiri's review for New York he writes: "The less said about the utterly charisma-less Reynolds, the better." Todd McCarthy's review in The Hollywood Reporter barely mentions Reynolds; same with Scott Foundas' review in Variety. And Foundas actually likes Jeff Bridges' performance. The fact of this is: No one really cares what Reynolds does in the movie. Or for that matter, that Reynolds is even in the movie. Universal wasn't even trying to sell the movie, as Foundas points out. (With a cute obituary pun, obviously.)
Back in 2011, Amos Barshad and Claude Brodesser-Akner wondered at Vulture whether that superhero vehicle would make Reynolds "an action hero." They concluded their analysis by writing: "Green Lantern could either dramatically boost his career or leave it pretty much as it was, and the former option is looking more likely." Green Lantern is now regarded as a notorious bust. On the tabloid side of things Reynolds is also a nonentity. His marriage to Blake Lively has kept him out of the public eye, unlike the days when he was hitched to Scarlett Johansson.
Reynolds has a number of projects lined up, including Atom Egoyan's Queen of the Night, so we'll have to see where his career goes. For now? We don't think we really need Reynolds in our movie-star skies. Sorry, Ryan.