TAG | Ashton Kutcher
Earlier this week Universal’s Kick-Ass 2 was the clear frontrunner for weekend box office glory but, what a difference a day makes. The R-rated action-sequel earned an estimated $5.8 million from 2,381 locations for second place on Friday, but should fall to third by Sunday. Just as Kick-Ass 2 descended, Lee Daniels’ The Butler was on the rise. With a big assist from co-star Oprah Winfrey, the TWC release claimed a Friday estimate of $8.3 million from 2,933 locations and a new weekend target of $25 million or higher. That would put the prestige pic in the same range as The Help – the Oscar-winner that lit up 2011’s late-summer box office.
Though it would be difficult to tell from the top five chart, Friday’s box office hosted two additional new releases: Jobs and Paranoia. The biopic starring Ashton Kutcher as Apple co-founder Steve Jobs took in $2.6 million from 2,381 locations and sixth-place on Friday. Paranoia fell flat with just $1.3 million from 2,459 venues. Based on Friday’s estimate, the thriller starring Liam Hemsworth and Harrison Ford will struggle to top $4 million through Sunday. Check back tomorrow for full details.
Lee Daniels’ The Butler
We’re the Millers
[This is a re-post of my review from the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Jobs opens today in wide release.]
For a movie about a man who championed innovation, Joshua Michael Stern's Steve Jobs biopic, Jobs, is awfully safe and conventional. By the end of the movie, most viewers will know as much as they previously did about the tech innovator or possibly even less. Stern and screenwriter Matt Whiteley's depiction of Jobs makes one of the most influential figures in American business seem like nothing more like a savvy salesman who bullied people into following his vision. Ashton Kutcher's lead performance veers between convincing and distracting, and while Josh Gad impresses as Steve "Woz" Wozniak, Jobs is a bland biopic that never provides any insight into the man behind the Macintosh.
Playing by the standard rise-fall-redemption arc, Jobs begins by showing us Steve Jobs' (Kutcher) presentation of the first iPod in 2001 before cutting back to his college years and showing us his spiritual, free-thinking origins. Although we see him expanding his mind in India, we quickly meet the bossy, demanding Jobs who worked at Atari in 1976 before teaming up with tech guru Woz (Gad) and eventually launching Apple Computers. From there, we basically know where the story goes because Jobs feels like a dramatization of a Wikipedia page.
Sometimes Stern and Whiteley give us even less as they never explain how Macintosh was different than the Lisa computer, and why the former was deemed less worthy of consideration by Apple's board ...
Ashton Kutcher had a Herculean task in portraying Steve Jobs. One could almost say it was a thankless endeavor to play the Apple Computers founder in the biopic Jobs. But, as can be seen even from the Jobs trailer, Kutcher has impeccably captured the nature, power, presence and earthquake of innovation that was Steve Jobs.
What surprised Kutcher the most about this titan of tech were his thoughts on education.
"The thing that I probably least expected to find was his perspective on education. I found this speech that he gave when he was about probably twenty-five and he was speaking to a bunch of high school kids that were about to graduate. Apparently, there had been a couple of other speakers that went before him,” Kutcher said.
“Steve got up in front of them and said, 'A lot of the really successful people I know in the world, they didn’t go to school and they didn’t get a degree. They had a broad set of life experiences that enabled them to bring something valuable that people with a standardized education couldn’t bring.' He encouraged these kids to go to Paris and try to write poetry or fall in love with two people at one time or try LSD like Walt Disney did when he came up with the idea for Fantasia.”
Jobs meant different things to different people. Kutcher took the age old adage of “not judging your character” and really had to apply it to this role, more than any other in his career.
“We as human beings are flawed. Most of the time the decisions and choices that we make at the point and time where we’re making that decision we feel like we’re making the right decision or the right choice and we feel like we’re behaving in the right way, in a justified way. There were some things that Steve Jobs approached that seemed very blunt and unkind,” he said.
“I actually think some of the things that Steve Jobs gets criticized for were the very gifts that allowed him to create what he did. I think that that blunt focus actually came out of care for the consumer and the product he was creating.”
It was Jobs' way of doing things, Kutcher believes, that led him to change the world, as seen in this Jobs clip. “It was that same blunt discernment that allowed him to create the amazing products he created,” Kutcher said.
“It was that same demand for perfection and demand for people to elevate their game to the best of their ability that allowed these teams to actually create these products that we all take for granted.”
Why it was important to make a film about Jobs' life, so soon after his death, was that it is such an encouraging story which Kutcher and filmmakers hope will spawn a new generation of innovators. “I wanted to make this film to inspire young people to create the world that they live in,” Kutcher said.
“I’m personally kind of tired of people looking at the world and saying, 'The world is not providing for me.' Maybe you need to provide for the world. And maybe it takes that little bit of confidence to say, this guy who came from very meager beginnings and didn’t have a college education, was able to build the most powerful company in the world. I think that is inspiring and necessary right now and I think that people can learn a lot from it.”
At the end of filming Jobs, looking back, the actor charged with portraying this great man feels that he was much more than a tech giant who brought the world closer and made our lives easier and more connected. “I think Steve made life beautiful. He didn’t just create a business and a product that was a utility that worked. He made something artistic and he made something beautiful and he appreciated art and creativity,” Kutcher said.
“I watch schools today and education programs dumping art programs for these business programs and remember the most powerful company in the world was run by an artist and that was Steve Jobs.”
For a movie about a man who championed innovation, Joshua Michael Stern's Steve Jobs biopic, jOBS, is awfully safe and conventional. By the end of the movie, most viewers will know as much as they previously did about the tech innovator or possibly even less. Stern and screenwriter Matt Whiteley's depiction of Jobs makes one of the most influential figures in American business seem like nothing more like a savvy salesman who bullied people into following his vision. Ashton Kutcher's lead performance veers between convincing and distracting, and while Josh Gad impresses as Steve "Woz" Wozniak, jOBS is a bland biopic that never provides any insight into the man behind the Apple.
Playing by the standard rise-fall-redemption arc, jOBS begins by showing us Steve Jobs' (Kutcher) presentation of the first iPod in 2001 before cutting back to his college years and showing us his spiritual, free-thinking origins. Although we see him expanding his mind in India, we quickly meet the bossy, demanding Jobs who worked at Atari in 1976 before teaming up with tech guru Woz (Gad) and eventually launching Apple Computers. From there, we basically know where the story goes because jOBS feels like a dramatization of a Wikipedia page.
Sometimes Stern and Whiteley give us even less as they never explain how Macintosh was different than the Lisa computer, and why the former was deemed less worthy of consideration by Apple's board members. While jOBS gives us the major points in the Apple founder's life, it provides almost no depth ...
New images from the respective sets of Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street and Joshua Michael Stern's (Swing Vote) jOBS have found their way online. The Wolf images give us our first look at Leonardo DiCaprio in his turn as Jordan Belfort, a former financial rock star of sorts whose own memoir of the same name is the basis for the film. While we've already seen pics of Ashton Kutcher doing his best Steve Jobs impersonation while wearing a turtleneck and on LSD, today's images give us a better idea of how well he can pull of the "button-up, cardigan, sweater vest" look.
Check out the images after the jump. The Wolf of Wall Street is aiming for a 2013 release and also stars Matthew McConaughey, Jon Favreau, and Jon Bernthal (The Walking Dead). jOBS co-stars Dermot Mulroney, Josh Gad, Matthew Modine, Ahna O'Reilly, and Lukas Haas while also staring down an unspecified 2013 release.
The Wolf of Wall Street images via Just Jared. Jobs images courtesy of X17. More of these set images can be found at each:
New posters have been released for The Rum Diary and New Year's Eve. The former is kind of cute and almost makes the film look like a light comic spin on Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which is appropriate considering that Hunter S. Thompson was the author of both novels. As for the New Year's Eve poster, it perfectly encapsulates the cynical, greedy reason for the movie's existence. The point isn't to convey a plot, but to jam as many stars into the film as possible in the hopes that you'll like one or two of them enough to see the movie. However, the stars you like will most likely be in the film for probably less than ten minutes total. If you think watching a star you like play a poorly defined character is worth a dollar a minute, then you like wasting money.
Hit the jump to check out the posters. The Rum Diary opens October 28th. New Year's Eve opens December 9th.
Here's the official synopsis for The Rum Diary:
Based on the debut novel by Hunter S. Thompson, “The Rum Diary” tells the increasingly unhinged story of itinerant journalist Paul Kemp (Johnny Depp). Tiring of the noise and madness of New York and the crushing conventions of late Eisenhower-era America, Kemp travels to the pristine island of Puerto Rico to write for a local newspaper, The San Juan Star, run by downtrodden editor Lotterman (Richard Jenkins). Adopting the rum-soaked life of the island, Paul soon becomes obsessed with ...