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I found this, an apparent reprint, in the 5/16/05 OC Register

Did star take Bloom off 'Kingdom'?

Sluggish box office for epic is being tied to its casting and rating.

By JOHN LIPPMAN and AMIR EFRATI

The Wall Street Journal

The $130 million crusader epic "Kingdom of Heaven," which kicked off the summer popcorn-movie season, unexpectedly lost its first battle at the U.S. box office last weekend. Now Hollywood is trying to understand why. One mistake seems increasingly clear: pairing its star, Orlando Bloom, with its rating, R.

Bloom's most passionate fans are young girls. That means the core supporters who helped power him into a seven-digit fee for his role in "Kingdom" can't go to see it on their own, at least in the U.S. R-rated films require a parent or adult guardian to accompany any viewers under 17.

Jessie Svec, a 16-year-old high-school sophomore from Ames, Iowa, says Bloom is "really hot," but she'll have to stay away. "I've gotten carded for R-rated movies before," she says. In Lake Elmo, Minn., 14-year-old Sara Lizakowski, who has hung a poster of Bloom in her bedroom, says that if she decides to see the movie, "I'll get a parent to get me in." That may not work. Her father, Terry, says: "If it's rated R, we wouldn't let her see it."

The movie, directed by Ridley Scott, pulled in only $19.6 million in U.S. ticket sales last weekend. By contrast, "Gladiator," Scott's 2000 R-rated epic, which starred an actor with broader demographic appeal, Russell Crowe, had a huge opening weekend in the U.S. ($34.8 million) and went on to rack up a blockbuster $187.7 million at the U.S. box office.

Fox executives say that "Kingdom" was never meant to attract teenagers, and that Bloom was hired because they believed he could deliver a convincing performance as a hero who grows from a boy into a man.

To be sure, the movie is still likely to be a moneymaker for the studio because of DVD sales and overseas box-office revenue. Fox's investment in the movie, after foreign-financing deals, totals $80 million. Last weekend, the movie took in $55 million outside the U.S., in part because several European countries placed a less-restrictive rating on it. (For example, Spanish teenagers 13 or older could see it without an adult, as could German teenagers 12 or older.) Paul Hanneman, Fox's executive vice president of international sales, said the lower rating "probably helped" boost attendance overseas.

Demographics and disturbing scenes are also potentially an issue when it comes to young fans of the next big summer film, opening at midnight showings late Wednesday: the final "Star Wars" movie, "Revenge of the Sith." Images of a severed hand and a half-burned face helped land it a PG-13 rating; the five other movies in the series were PG. At the same time, producer Lucasfilm is appealing to kids who might be too young to see it by cutting promotional deals with companies such as Kellogg's. (Lava Berry Explosion Pop-Tarts and Corn Pops cereal boxes feature "Sith" characters.) A Lucasfilm spokeswoman says that "parents know 'Star Wars' has a very positive influence, and they are the best judges about whether their particular children should see this movie."

Meanwhile, with Bloom-obsessed girls generally shut out from "Kingdom," another group that might otherwise be drawn to that bloody, militaristic film may be staying away at least in part because of the star. "He's still perceived as a pretty boy and hence not perceived as a manly man," says Brandon Gray, president of box-office tracking firm Box Office Mojo. "And that alienates the primary demographic for historical epics - adult males - more so than it attracts young females."

As it turns out, Bloom wasn't Scott's first choice to play Balian, the blacksmith-turned-warrior in "Kingdom." The director says he wanted Crowe, but the actor was busy making "Cinderella Man," about boxing legend Jim Braddock (it opens June 3). Scott says he then cast Bloom in the lead because he was impressed by his performances in "Lord of the Rings" and the 2003 adventure "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl."

The 28-year-old Bloom first soared to stardom as the long-haired elf Legolas in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, growing ever more popular with each of the three installments. Among viewers of the second part, "The Two Towers," 14 percent of women under age 25 said the reason they went to see the movie was Bloom, according to producer and distributor New Line Cinema. (He ranked No. 3, behind Ian McKellen and Elijah Wood.) By the final episode in 2003, "The Return of the King," Bloom had soared to No. 1, with 43 percent of women in that age group saying he was the reason they went to see the movie.

Bloom also gained young fans from his turn as a humble blacksmith in "Pirates." According to Disney, the movie's producer and distributor, 36 percent of that movie's audience was teenagers, and 60 percent of them were female. Teen People magazine last year named Bloom "GBP 1 Hottie" and one of the "25 Hottest Stars Under 25." He's one of the most popular stars on the Web, bumping Britney Spears as screensavers.com's "top celebrity download."

But it might not just be the rating that's keeping some fans away. "Yeah, he's hot," says Jane Bi, a 16-year-old high-school junior from Manhattan. "But who cares about the Crusades?"

Sidebar:

Orlando Bloom is one of the Hollywood actors who alternates smaller “quality” films with broad-appeal commercial studio films. Upcoming:

FILM: “Elizabethtown”

COMMENT: The first movie in four years from director Cameron Crowe, known for hits like “Jerry Maguire” and more personal films like “Almost Famous.” Paramount delayed the release to fall to avoid competing with this summer’s crush of comedies. Bloom plays an executive who gets fired after causing big losses for his company and falls for flight attendant Kirsten Dunst.

FILM: “Paris, Je T’Aime”

COMMENT: The movie, whose title means “Paris, I Love You,” has French producers, an English soundtrack and 20 directors, each making a five-minute ministory. No U.S. release date yet.

FILM: “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest”

COMMENT: In this sequel to Disney’s surprise 2003 hit – tentatively set for release on July 7, 2006 – more pirate adventures threaten the nuptials of Bloom and the well-born Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley). A third installment is set for release in 2007.

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:rant: I've started this post several times now, but it seems to me that I need to go away for a few hours and blow off some steam before commenting on this. Otherwise I might begin to hurl some really nasty abuse at these guys who seem to live under a rock and are blind to boot. :rant:

Thanks, Fantine, for this article.

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Well, that's just :censor: marvellous. Thanks, WSJ, for perpetuating just about every :censor: myth out there - he's just a pretty boy, etc., etc. God, this is disheartening. What does it take to get them to take him seriously?

Well, I suppose we should be grateful that at least the sidebar acknowledges that Orlando has a variety of roles underway. Sigh.

Jules

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Last time I checked I hadn't been in high school in 25 years. I haven't been carded in so long I forgot what it feels like. Frankly, I have more extra dollars to spend than any 16 year old. Bugger them.

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Well, we pretty much knew, didn't we, that this "he's too pretty, he's not manly enough, his fans are all 14-year-old girls" line of thinking was not going to go away over night. Same old same old.

Here's the part that really irks me more than any other:

As it turns out, Bloom wasn't Scott's first choice to play Balian, the blacksmith-turned-warrior in "Kingdom." The director says he wanted Crowe, but the actor was busy making "Cinderella Man," about boxing legend Jim Braddock (it opens June 3).

:wtf: I don't ever remember hearing/reading about this before. And it doesn't even match with the concept of a boy's transformation into a man, the spiritual coming of age of Balian.

Don't despair, Orlando. Don't despair, ka-Bloomies! :crusader:

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I didn't mean to upset people by posting this. I'm sorry if I did. :(

:hug: It's not you, Fantine, trust me, it's JOHN LIPPMAN and AMIR EFRATI that I'd like to give the Bloomb!tch!slap to.

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"Yeah, he's hot," says Jane Bi, a 16-year-old high-school junior from Manhattan. "But who cares about the Crusades?"

Oh.Dear.Lord. :eedgit:

As wonderful as that article was... this was just the icing on the cake for me. What a supurb portrayal of Orlando's fans. :bash:

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Guest TwinMom
He's one of the most popular stars on the Web, bumping Britney Spears as screensavers.com's "top celebrity download."

No offense, but Orlando didn't have to work very hard for this honor. I think Britney did most of the work herself! :lol:

I've said it on other threads, and I'll say it again here: I didn't enjoy Orlando in this movie very much, but I don't blame Orlando for it. I blame Ridley Scott. His decisions about what to edit from the movie and what to include not only made for the "R" rating which excluded a huge audience from this film, but also sacrificed character build-up and story line.

I am confidant that Orlando will flourish in Elizabethtown under the genius guidance of Cameron Crowe, and soon we'll forget all about the questionable reviews and lower-than-expected box office returns.

Bring on Drew!

Kelly

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I didn't mean to upset people by posting this. I'm sorry if I did. :(

No, don't apologize. Better to know what's out there, I think. What's that saying? Forewarned is forearmed? :bat:

Yeah, bring on Elizabethtown.

Jules

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Here's the part that really irks me more than any other:

(Wall Street Journal)

As it turns out, Bloom wasn't Scott's first choice to play Balian, the blacksmith-turned-warrior in "Kingdom." The director says he wanted Crowe, but the actor was busy making "Cinderella Man," about boxing legend Jim Braddock (it opens June 3).

I don't ever remember hearing/reading about this before. And it doesn't even match with the concept of a boy's transformation into a man, the spiritual coming of age of Balian.

I had heard that Scott has spoken with Crowe about doing another film together, which would be set sometime in the Crusader era. But that was well before the current script was finalized. Balian is obviously not a role for an actor in his late 30s or early 40s.

I've said it on other threads, and I'll say it again here: I didn't enjoy Orlando in this movie very much, but I don't blame Orlando for it. I blame Ridley Scott. His decisions about what to edit from the movie and what to include not only made for the "R" rating which excluded a huge audience from this film, but also sacrificed character build-up and story line.

Agreed! Why a veteran director would work from a shooting script that produced a film that was over 3 hours long is beyond me. Scott knows :censor: well that no exhibitor is going to buy a film that long. That's the kind of self-indulgent :censor: that I expect from Oliver Stone, not Ridley Scott. And, sadly, Orlando is taking the heat for Scott's decisions.

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Guest EntropyGoddess

Sounds like they were bound and determined to work this prejudicial concept into an article. My points of rebuttal would be:

1.) Who goes to the Wall Street Journal for advice on what film to see? Please.

2.) Isn't this one of the same conservative newspapers that carries articles ranting about how easy it is for poor impressionable teenagers to get into R-rated movies? Like it or not, it's probably not so difficult for most teenagers to get in to see KOH, either with or without their parents' permission, if they really want to.

3.) MovieImp's point is well taken. If the film's team was not aiming to capture the teenybopper market, why would they even care about this? If they're doing well enough among adult fans - and you know, in America at least a sort-of-historical war epic is unlikely to sell as many tickets as the latest mindless action shoot-em-up, but so what? - then I'm sure Ridley Scott isn't losing any sleep over what the 16-year-olds might be doing.

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Guest Bog Iris

Excellent points, EG. What confuses me about this article is its vicious tone. It's as if these 'reporters" have a personal stake in affixing the blame for a disappointing opening directly on Orlando. I've seen this "let's bury him" attitude from reviewers before, and its one they never apply to, say, Ashton Kutcher. What could they have against him? It's not as if he's personally obnoxious or outright untalented. *shakes head* I just don't get it.

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Excellent points, EG. What confuses me about this article is its vicious tone. It's as if these 'reporters" have a personal stake in affixing the blame for a disappointing opening directly on Orlando. I've seen this "let's bury him" attitude from reviewers before, and its one they never apply to, say, Ashton Kutcher. What could they have against him? It's not as if he's personally obnoxious or outright untalented. *shakes head* I just don't get it.

Middle-aged men with middle-aged spread are always jealous of young, good-looking guys who have women swooning over them. It's that simple. Tom Cruise endured the same thing for years.

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Guest Cl@re
Bloom's most passionate fans are young girls. That means the core supporters who helped power him into a seven-digit fee for his role in "Kingdom" can't go to see it on their own, at least in the U.S. R-rated films require a parent or adult guardian to accompany any viewers under 17.

Well, this article screams "stereotype" doesn't it? I'm guessing the "writer" means it is school girls that are Orlando's target audience? Well, that said, I have to add, my school days are well and truley behind me. In fact, it's a ten year reunion this year.

If I had half a heart to take the people who write these articles seriously, I'd tell them some research might come in handy once in a while. :bat:

And I get the feeling that the "Eat :censor: Jessica.It's carrot!" type, wouldn't even be intrested in a movie like this anyway. They'd maybe go see the movie once and ruin the whole experience for those of us who want to see it with many a "Omigod isn't he like so freakin' hot!". :oh:

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Guest mia

This is the first I've heard of Orlando not being Ridley Scotts first choice for Balian.It's possible I guess.I loved Orlando in KOH.However I did think the story was a bit weak.Possibly because so much was cut from the film. An hour or so I heard.

As for Orlando fans all being under 14 years old.I have 2 children at University So I'm way over 14.

I've seen KOH 4 times here in England and I'm going again tonight.

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:rant:

And :angry:

And :bash:

Now that I've gotten that out of my system, I have to admit that maybe the article sort of has a point.

The brutal reality is that actors in leading roles are expected to help sell the film to audiences. Orlando has a huge following among viewers who have difficulty contributing to the box office totals of R-rated movies because of their age. (Kids who buy a ticket for a different movie and then sneak in to see an R-rated movie do not contribute to the R movie's box office total.) Orlando's popularity with younger viewers was worthless when it came to selling KoH.

This would not have mattered much, in my opinion, if KoH had been the awesome critical success that we all hoped it would be. If the script and the editing had been better, people would be talking about Oscars now -- for Ridley Scott as director and for the film as best picture. The box office totals might still suck, but the film -- and Orlando -- would have been perceived as successful in one of the two ways that matter (prestige and money). Even Fox would have been happy; they would have had an award contender with KoH, and they would be making money hand over fist with Star Wars.

Unfortunately, it didn't turn out that way. KoH is a double failure -- poor reviews AND a disappointing box office total.

Orlando has been quoted as saying that he didn't intend to do another period role after Troy but that the chance to play a lead in a Ridley Scott movie was too good to pass up.

In retrospect, perhaps that was not the best possible decision.

A case could be made for Orlando only accepting lead roles in movies that are likely to be rated PG-13 or lower, so as not to exclude an important part of his fanbase. There's nothing wrong with him taking a supporting role in an R movie (e.g., Troy), since the experts don't generally attribute the box office success or failure of a movie to its supporting cast. Thus, if the movie flops, he won't be blamed. (It was Brad Pitt, not Orlando or Eric Bana, who took the fall for the less-than-expected box office totals of Troy.) But perhaps Orlando's lead roles, at least for the time being, should be in PG-13 movies (e.g., Elizabethtown).

Please note that I am not saying that casting Orlando in KoH was a poor decision for acting reasons. He did a good job with the role, in my opinion. But perhaps it was indeed, as the article said, a poor choice for marketing reasons.

Just my opinion. :tomato:

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Several observations:

  • I have a son 6 years older than Orlando, so I definitely do not fall into the 'Tiger Beat' generation category
  • As for Russell Crowe being Ridley's first choice for Balian - bull-twinkies. He was already working with Russell on Tripoli which had to be shelved due to scheduling conflicts. (Cinderella Man anyone?)
  • Why on earth would ANYONE cast Russell Crowe in a coming of age tale? He's a fine actor, but come on! Get real.
I really get aggravated by reviewers and other writers who decide what they think without seeing the film, and if they DO see it, only recognize things in it that support their preconceptions. :rant:

Strip away all the hype - positive and negative - and you have a powerful film with wonderful performances by an entire ensemble of actors and a message that really needs to be heard. And Orlando can say more with nothing but his eyes than most actors say with pages of dialog.

Krissy

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A case could be made for Orlando only accepting lead roles in movies that are likely to be rated PG-13 or lower, so as not to exclude an important part of his fanbase. There's nothing wrong with him taking a supporting role in an R movie (e.g., Troy), since the experts don't generally attribute the box office success or failure of a movie to its supporting cast. Thus, if the movie flops, he won't be blamed. (It was Brad Pitt, not Orlando or Eric Bana, who took the fall for the less-than-expected box office totals of Troy.) But perhaps Orlando's lead roles, at least for the time being, should be in PG-13 movies (e.g., Elizabethtown).

Wow, this is an emotive subject but I don't agree Orlando should take only PG13 roles. For me, he has to take that step up and move away from the teen idol image. Let's face it, he's 28 (no great age, I know) but in a few years' time he should be out of the teen idol mould and ready to show the non-teenyboppers what he can do. In addition, while his fan base is clearly important it is never going to be sizeable enough to dictate box office success. Orlando has to target the movie-going public to gain critical acclaim, not just his fans.

As for KoH I have now seen it with my husband and a good friend who is not an Orlando fan. Yes, we are all over 30 and all of us have rated his performance as excellent (I'm biased but my husband most definitely is not and my good friend equally is not).

I think Orlando has to continue aiming at the more mature audience in order to establish himself as a "serious" actor. I'm more than happy he has done this with "KoH." Yes, the critics will do their best to put him down but longer-term I have no doubt Orlando will prove them wrong. I think Orlando is becoming a victim of the "tall poppy syndrome" certainly here in the UK. The media strategy is to build people up so they can shoot them down... and this certainly seems to be happening with Orlando over here.

As for the box office, let's see, but it's been at no. 1 in the UK and done well in the world outside the US so something must be working.

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But perhaps Orlando's lead roles, at least for the time being, should be in PG-13 movies (e.g., Elizabethtown).

:blink: E-town is rated now? Last time I looked, it wasn't.

Gotta say, Lianna, and I say it with nothing but love for you, honey :hug:.....an actor should NOT, IMNSHO, choose roles based on ratings. That's not art. I don't even know what to call that.

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Guest earthcrosser

Nah-screw them. I agree that Orlando should continue to do movies with adult themes, along with the rom coms and what not.it's the best way to build his career and prove his talent. And I agree with you all who are in the "mature" set :wave: - there are obviously enough of us out there to be completely insulted by the assumption that only teenaged girls are his fans. But I guess that's because we're supposed to be up to more useful things :rant:

At any rate.is anyone else puzzled by the reference to the French movie that he's supposedly doing? :huh: That's completely news to me.

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At any rate.is anyone else puzzled by the reference to the French movie that he's supposedly doing?  :huh:  That's completely news to me.

The article/discussion can be found here. :wink:

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Guest earthcrosser
At any rate.is anyone else puzzled by the reference to the French movie that he's supposedly doing?   :huh:  That's completely news to me.

The article/discussion can be found here. :wink:

Thank you, DarkElven!

:wave:

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Okay, don't :tomato: me too much, but I don't necessarily disagree with this article. The reasons they put forth for KOH's less-than-stellar box office are ones that have occurred to me and have been posited elsewhere:

- The R-rating, which may have kept away the teenage audience, who do make up a significant part of Orlando's fan base. Of course his fans are not exclusively teenagers, as forums like this prove, but their importance cannot be ignored.

- Orlando's hearthrob status, delicateness, attractiveness, etc. We've seen time and time again that he is perceived by some as a pretty boy beloved by teen girls (which isn't untrue, or even necessarily a bad thing, but of course I think he has the potential to be much more :wink:). It's hard to say how this played into things, because I personally heard young guys claiming they were interested in seeing the movie (where have they been these last two weeks :blink:), mainly for the action aspect, and because it was directed by Ridley Scott.

It's hard to say why a movie doesn't succeed, though. If it had done well here in the US, we would have been hearing about the New Hero and the revival of epics and would have had numerous articles pointing out all the reasons it succeeded.

As for the possibility of Russell Crowe fitting the role, it surely would have been different, but it could have worked. I saw the movie as the story of a man going from an ordinary life to one of extraordinary circumstances. Because of Orlando's youth, the movie may have had a coming-of-age feel to it, but I think it would have worked well enough with an older actor. In fact, I sort of thought that the role would have been better served in certain ways by a more experienced actor. :tomato: Admittedly, adjustments probably would have been necessary as far as the father/son relationship.

Now I didn't say that it *should* have been played by an older lead, but I can see how it could have worked. Playing the leader who inspires thousands of men to put their lives on the line can be hard to pull off. I think you have to have a certain gravitas and experience. Orlando brought something particular to the role in the quieter moments, especially when he was wandering around on his lonesome, but I thought the scenes that called for the inspiring leader drill were maybe some of his weaker moments. He was pretty solid, and I do respect that it's a difficult thing to pull off, those sorts of scenes, but I think his strong points lay elsewhere in the movie. It's in this way that I can see the Russell Crowe connection. I know most people don't agree with me there, though.

Guess I should mention that I've only managed to see the movie once; perhaps my opinion will change with the DVD release, when subsequent viewings will allow me to form a more concrete opinion.

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:blink:  E-town is rated now? Last time I looked, it wasn't.

Gotta say, Lianna, and I say it with nothing but love for you, honey :hug:.....an actor should NOT, IMNSHO, choose roles based on ratings.  That's not art. I don't even know what to call that.

MovieImp said in another thread that the studio people had indicated that Elizabethtown would be either PG or PG-13.

As for art, it's a wonderful thing, but if people are going to blame you for a movie's failure, your chances to play future roles of similar quality are going to diminish.

But perhaps I'm just too jaded.

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