One of Hollywood’s brightest (and only) stars, Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence, might be dimming. In the wake of her bigoted attacks on traditional Christians, there has been a noticeable shift in her box office fortunes, starting with the unexpected under-performance of the concluding chapter of the once-massively successful “Hunger Games” franchise. The good news, for her at least, is that her new film, “Joy,” is predicted to gross between $15 and $20 million this weekend, a respectable number.
Filled with the hubris, arrogance, and smug elitism that has dimmed many a Hollywood star, during the national publicity tour for “The Hunger Games – Mockingjay: Part 2” in November, J-Law lashed out at traditional Christians. In a fit of snobbery and bigotry, Lawrence said she was “embarrassed to be from Kentucky.”
“All those people holding their crucifixes, which may as well be pitchforks,” Lawrence told Vogue. “Thinking they’re fighting the good fight. I grew up in Kentucky. I know how they are.”
The box office blowback was immediate. “Mockingjay – Part 2” under-performed in a big way, opening to just $104 million. Predictions were as high as $127 million. No one expected a highly-anticipated final chapter of a major franchise to open lower than all of the previous installments, especially when the exact opposite proved true for similar franchises, such as the “Harry Potter” and “Twilight” sagas.
To date, after 33 days in release, “Mockingjay – Part 2” has made just $257 million, which puts it $100 million, $120 million, and $35 million behind the three previous installments, after the same number of days in release.
This weekend will be an important test for Lawrence.
In 2013, “American Hustle” went into wide release and grossed $19 million the weekend of December 20-22. The following weekend, it did almost as well with $18.7 million. On just a $40 million budget, “American Hustle” would eventually gross $150 million.
In 2012, in limited release, “Silver Linings Playbook” was the sleeper hit of the Christmas season and would eventually go on to gross $132 million, on just a $21 million budget.
If the box office predictions hold true for “Joy,” which is budgeted at $60 million, Lawrence will be fine. Another under-performance in a movie being sold primarily on her starpower, would prove to be an ominous sign.
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