Tina Fey, like other Hollywood-created stars including Lena Dunham, is showing herself to be a box office bust. Her newest film, Admission, in which she stars as an admissions officer who falls into romance with typecast normal person Paul Rudd, clocked in at a mere $6.6M on its opening weekend. “Red States may be holding a grudge over your SNL Sarah Palin impressions,” writes Nikki Finke at Deadline Hollywood.
But this isn’t Fey’s first tepid box office response. She has a long string of them. She starred in the underperforming Megamind and Baby Mama (which started off hot, then quickly faded). Her Date Night with Steve Carell performed well, but worse than initially expected (it did not break $100 million domestically). Her greatest movie success to date remains Mean Girls (2004), which she wrote. While Hollywood wants to turn Fey into a bona fide star, even the show that made her famous, 30 Rock, never drew flies – its best season, Season 3, it averaged 7.5 million viewers and barely broke the top 70 shows in primetime that year. Its season 6 season was all the way down to 4.6 million viewers, despite fawning media coverage.
Tina Fey is very talented; her writing is often incredibly sharp. But her pokes at Palin did her no good with mainstream America, and her cutesy “too-smart-for-the-room” routine does her no favors with audiences. Like Will Ferrell, Ben Stiller, Jim Carrey, Dunham, and Jack Black, Fey’s popularity with the decisionmakers in Hollywood far outweighs her popularity with the folks who shell out money to watch product.
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the book “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).