Movie Article

Sorry, Charlie

Why ''Charlie's Angels'' didn't kick butt. A mountain of pre-release publicity resulted in a lower-than-expected opening for Drew, Demi, and Co. Gillian Flynn explains why

Lucy Liu, Cameron Diaz, ... | ANGELS IN OVERDRIVE Diaz, Barrymore, and Liu go too far to promote the movie
Image credit: Diaz, Barrymore, Liu: (1) Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage.com; (2) Clinton H. Wallace/Ipol/Globe; (3)Jim Spellman/WireImage.com
ANGELS IN OVERDRIVE Diaz, Barrymore, and Liu go too far to promote the movie

Why ''Charlie's Angels'' didn't kick butt

Face it, ''Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle'' hasn't lived up to expectations. Last weekend, the sexy sequel opened with a mere $38 million. That might not sound bad (after all, it was the No. 1 movie), but consider this: Pundits predicted ''Throttle'' would debut with at least $60 million. Yet it didn’t even match the original's $40.1 million -- not to mention this summer’s other No. 1 films: ''Hulk'' ($62.6 million), ''Finding Nemo'' ($70.3 million), and ''Bruce Almighty'' ($86.3 million). So what happened? Theories abound:

The heat was on Why watch celluloid gals in bikinis when you can watch real-life ones (or, better yet, be one)? Summer finally arrived, leaving cineplexes in the cold. Don’t blame Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu, and Demi Moore -- everyone in Hollywood lost out to the beaches. Overall ticket sales plummeted 22 percent during what is usually a prime moviegoing weekend.

Boys steered clear of the girls Moviegoers in possession of the Y chromosome were lured, instead, by ''Hulk'' and the weekend’s other major opening, Danny Boyle’s zombie thriller, ''28 Days Later.'' Sure, ''Full Throttle'' is a chick flick about female empowerment, but it's also about those aforementioned gals in bikinis, so industry experts were counting on a large, leering male audience. The first ''Charlie’s Angels,'' for instance, sold nearly 50 percent of its tickets to guys. But again, don't blame Drew and Co. for the boys' failure to commit. Back in November 2000, the male-drawing alternatives to the original ''Angels'' were the limp period golf drama, ''The Legend of Bagger Vance,'' and… Jonathan Lipnicki in ''The Little Vampire.''

Too much of a good thing, already! Take four Angels cuddling on the covers of countless magazines (including Entertainment Weekly) and cavorting on nearly every talk show. Then add the Demi-and-Ashton traveling circus. Result? You may have a case of overexposure, Angels. Look what media omnipresence did to Harrison Ford, who worked his ''Hollywood Homicide'' so hard (and awkwardly) that my TV is still covered in his flop sweat. Sometimes, ladies, less is more.

People are dopes When all else fails, blame the audience. Consider what’s outgrossed ''Full Throttle'' so far this summer: The extraordinarily strained, guys-are-such-dummies junkfest ''Bruce Almighty'' (I mean, "It’s goooood" is your catchphrase? Come on). The joyless, pretentious, and really tiresome ''Matrix Reloaded'' (How do you make an orgy scene tedious?). And ''Hulk,'' whose extensive flashbacks of moss were more interesting than any single performance (Except for the French poodle that Eric Bana dispatched early on. Lucky dog).

If ''Full Throttle'' -- a good, silly summer flick -- doesn’t ultimately outplay these mediocre films, I have only one final theory, Angels: Satan must be at work.

Why do you think ''Charlie's Angels'' didn't live up to its ''Full'' potential?

Originally posted Jul 03, 2003