Okay, so, that headline might warrant an arrest by the hyperbole police, but still, just look at this weekend's US box office stats, and you can tell that something is amiss with Ryan Reynolds. The actor featured in two movies which opened this weekend in the States, and they both bombed. Like crazy.
First up was the animated movie Turbo, about a snail that wants to be a race car, with Reynolds providing the voice of said snail. Now kids will go to see pretty much anything when its animated (or, at least they'll demand that their parents bring them), but over the weekend Turbo barely made a dent in its $135 million budget, making just $21.5 million from Friday to Sunday. That’s quite a bit less than other recent original animated movies like Epic, Rise Of The Guardians or The Croods (which Reynolds also had a part in), but maybe kids just don’t like snails?
Still, that doesn't explain why Reynold's other movie, R.I.P.D., which cost $130 million to produce, co-stars Jeff Bridges and from the trailer genuinely looks like a fun if derivative Men In Black clone, managed to make only $12.7 million this weekend. It's the biggest blockbuster flop of the year to date. However, this weekend is just a microcosm of Reynold's output to date, which for the most part, we can divide into two distinct categories: Films that are good that nobody goes to see, or blockbusters that should've been good that nobody goes to see.
In the former category we have the likes of Just Friends, a genuinely funny rom-com that made barely $9 million on its opening weekend, and Definitely Maybe, another overlooked rom-com gem that also made just over $9 million on its opening weekend. There's Adventureland and its $5.7 million opening weekend. And then there are the truly bewildering box office misses, like Buried, a fantastically tense thriller that made barely over $1 million in the US box office during its ENTIRE run, or The Nines, which made less than $65,000 during its time in US cinemas.
Then there are the blockbusters, which by definition made us more aware of their failure. The biggest was The Green Lantern, a huge DC adaptation that was being lined up as the next Batman franchise: It was obliterated by critics and made back just $219 million on a $200 million production budget (which doesn’t include promotional costs, which might’ve been as high as another $150 million). X-Men Origins: Wolverine fared better at the box office - $373 million on a $150 million budget - but again, the critics hated it, and Reynolds portrayal of the character Deadpool was like a slap to every Marvel fan’s face. The less said about the likes of Blade Trinity, Smoking Aces and The Change Up, the better.
Some of his movies have been genuine hits, but it's usually been down to blind luck (The Amityville Horror remake was surely a success because it was a barely average horror movie rather than Reynolds involvement) or working with a bigger star (The Proposal was a hit almost entirely because of Sandra Bullock, ditto with Safe House and Denzel Washington).
So what is it? Why do we ignore Reynolds movies? Do we hate him because he's so talented and handsome and is regularly topless on the cover of Men’s Health and was married to Scarlett Johansson and is now married to Blake Lively? Are we just jealous of him?
No, that can't be it. Most of the world seems to genuinely like Reynolds, because unlike that other Ryan who might self-implode if he was seen being anything other than being the coolest man alive, Reynolds totally embraces his dorkiness. He seems genuinely funny, totally charming (that interview he did with the very young reporter was adorable), plus he's not afraid to make fun of himself: see the fat suit in Just Friends, or his cameo in Ted.
Then maybe it's just his fault? Maybe Reynolds is a bad luck omen, who unwittingly caused the director of Casino Royale to ruin The Green Lantern, or influenced the director of RED drop the sequel to make R.I.P.D.? (Incidentally, RED 2 was also out this weekend in the States, and it also made more money than R.I.P.D., which must've hurt twice over for the director.)
It truly is a mystery, and it's not like Ryan isn't trying, as he's totally mixing it up with the big blockbusters and the teeny tiny budgeted indies. He’s doing what Matthew McConaughey is currently doing, except that Reynolds has been doing it longer, and it's absolutely NOT working for him!
So what do you think he should do? Fire his agent? Change his name in the hope that people think he's a new person? Go back to TV for a while to renew his fanbase (he did finally make it big after hit show Two Guys, A Girl & A Pizza Place)? Suggestions in the comments below and we'll be sure to mention them to him next time we're chatting!