Nolte: ‘Long Shot’ Flop Confirms Seth Rogen’s Status as Box Office Poison

Charlize Theron, Seth Rogen, June Diane Raphael, and Ravi Patel in Long Shot (AG Studios, Denver and Delilah Productions, Good Universe, 2019)
AG Studios

Now that Long Shot has officially flopped with a dismal $10.6 million opening, it looks like we can add Seth Rogen to the list of actors (Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Schumer) whose obnoxious and nasty politics ended up destroying their once-lucrative movie careers.

One thing I like about the movies is that the box office will always be a meritocracy.

Unlike cable and satellite television, where the game is so rigged 89 million suckers subsidize CNN even though they don’t watch it, where television programming is so rigged it allows ratings losers like Tina Fey and Lena Dunham to stay on the air by way of left-wing affirmative action programs, the box office doesn’t lie.

If people like you, they will come. If people don’t like you, they won’t come — and the people no longer like Seth Rogen.

Rogen’s Long Shot had everything going for it: Solid reviews, co-star Charlize Theron, a ton of publicity, and a wide release in 3,230 theaters. It was also the perfect piece of counter-programming against Avengers: Endgame, the exact kind of movie that should attract those uninterested in a superhero saga, those who want to avoid the Marvel crowds, or those who had already seen Endgame.

Unfortunately, it also had one major drawback — Rogen, who has burned the audience goodwill necessary to remain a mainstream box office attraction, and has done so with a fire hose of nasty, partisan, mean-spirited statements — the type of behavior you simply cannot engage in if you want to succeed in an undiluted meritocracy.

If Rogen wants to be on TV, this kind of behavior is perfectly fine because the TV game is rigged to where a Jimmy Kimmel is considered a star, even though he has no audience (two million viewers); to where a Stephen Colbert can brag about being “number one” because his miniscule audience (3.8 million) is a little bigger than Kimmel’s miniscule audience.

The movies are altogether different, though: dollars, cents, butts-in-seats. That is a number that cannot be spun, toyed with, or hung out in the sun to dry — and Seth Rogen is now box office poison.

Other than animated movies, Rogen has not had a hit in five years, since 2014’s Neighbors.

Rogen was supposed to be box office insurance for 2015’s Steve Jobs and it died on takeoff, grossing just $18 million.

Even worse for Rogen was the failure of The Night Before and Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising. Both should’ve been sure-fire Rogen smashes because both are the R-rated comedies that made him rich and famous. Hell, the first Neighbors grossed an incredible $150 million, but its sequel and The Night Before tanked with respective takes of just $43 million and $55.4 million — which means that after production and promotion costs, both almost certainly lost money.

I’m not even counting Rogen’s dismal $6 million gross for The Interview (2014), which was plagued by terrible publicity surrounding the Sony hack and all that stuff with North Korea.

This weekend’s Long Shot, though, is a five-alarm disaster that can no longer be ignored. This is Rogen’s fourth live-action box office flop in a role (not counting The Interview).

According to Deadline, the Long Shot is going to lose a fortune. Production costs alone are $40 to $50 million. You can probably add another $25 to $35 million for promotion. Just to break even, Long Shot will have to gross $120 to $150 million …  and that ain’t happening.

Rogen should look into hosting the Mid-Daily Show on Comedy Central, or something  — you know, something that can still be spun as a hit even if only 13 people tune in.

Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC. Follow his Facebook Page here.


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