A so-so movie makes it mark at the box office. “No Strings Attached,” a romantic comedy about friends-with-benefits starring Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher opened to a solid $20.3 million, according to studio estimates, to win the weekend; 70 percent of attendees were women, exit polling showed. It was the only new picture to open nationwide, continuing what has been a slow January at the box office.
“No Strings Attached” is the first mainstream romantic comedy starring Portman, who also executive produced, and marked a healthy start in the genre. It was the highest opening for the actress outside of the “Star Wars” pictures and comic book adaptation “V for Vendetta.”
For Kutcher, it was a virtual tie for the best openings of movies he has starred in, alongside the romantic comedies “Guess Who” and “What Happens in Vegas.”
“The King’s Speech,” which came in fourth place, demonstrated that it continued to be the hot indie drama of the moment as ticket sales didn’t decline at all from the previous weekend, repeating at $9.2 million, a sign of extraordinary word-of-mouth. Even accounting for the 137 new theaters the Weinstein Co. added to the run of the historical drama, ticket sales at existing locations were down only 9 percent. Its domestic box-office total is now a strong $58.6 million.
Here’s the top 10 at the box office this week:
1. No Strings Attached: Weekend $20.3M
2. The Green Hornet 3D: Weekend $18.1M (-31%), Cume $63.4M
3. The Dilemma: Weekend $9.9M (-33%), Cume $33.5M
4. The King’s Speech: Weekend $9.1M, Cume $58.6M
5. True Grit: Weekend $7.9M, Cume $138.5M
6. Black Swan: Weekend $6.2M, Cume $83.5M
7. Little Fockers: Estimated Weekend $4M, Estimated Cume $140.8M
8. The Fighter: Estimated Weekend $4M, Estimated Cume $72.5M
It will be a May-December romance between two of Hollywood’s most beautiful people: Brad Pitt and Natalie Portman.
An onscreen romance, that is.
Pitt, 45, and Portman, 28, have been cast in a new romantic comedy in which he will play an aging photographer and she a New York Times food columnist, Variety reports.
The film, in the works at Paramount, is based on the book, “Important Artifacts and Personal Property From the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion and Jewelry,” by Leanne Shapton.
They are some the hottest stars around, but will audiences like them as a couple … or will it just be weird … kind of like Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt in “As Good as it Gets”?
Natalie Portman is falling in love — and salvaging quiet little films along the way. According to Variety, Portman is set to star in “Love and Other Impossible Pursuits” alongside Scott Cohen and Charlie Tahan. She will play a young woman named Emelia, who must cope with the loss of her infant daughter, while trying to raise her gifted five-year-old stepson, William, and salvage her rocky marriage. The film will be directed by Don Roos for Incentive Filmed Entertainment, and is based on the novel by Ayelet Waldman.
The role originally belonged to Jennifer Lopez, who’s abrupt departure nearly destroyed the film altogether. Portman rescued the film by taking the lead not only onscreen, but behind the scenes — she’s executive producing the film under her banner, Handsomecharlie Films.
David Molner, head of Incentive, can’t say enough about Portman for backing the film. “We were left in the lurch by one actress and rescued by another,” he told the trade. “It goes to show that, particularly with independent features, nothing is more important than the talent. It’s a blessing that Natalie loved the script and now we’ve got a strong film that we can sell.”
This should be a meaty role for Portman, as Emilia is a prickly and unlikeable character, a contrast from many of the roles she’s played in the past. Her progress from precocious “Star Wars” heroine to Hollywood power player has been an exciting one — and hopefully, this will be one of many indie films she’ll carry to the finish line.
For all those in love with Portman — can you handle seeing her as an unlikeable heroine, or do you wish she would stick to playing dream girlfriends? Are you intrigued by her taking on more work behind the scenes, or do you wish she would stay in front of the camera?