A dog, a lonesome robot, and Tom Hanks in a science fiction film can spell box office doom. On Monday, the numbers reflected the extent of his loss at the box office.
The stalwart star of hits like Toy Story and the Big Picture has never starred in a movie with a “straight-ahead science fiction” storyline before, Variety reports. He stars in the new film, The Postman, playing a former parking lot attendant (an improbable profession in 2018) who must decide whether or not to sell an abandoned, mining corporation’s nuclear warheads. Hanks even gets some poetic moments as he pursues one particular man’s doe-eyed love for a female robot, whose presence he feels is wasting the talents of a ground-breaking inventor who’s been imprisoned in a remote prison somewhere. When director Jeff Nichols returns after gaining acclaim with his directorial debut Shotgun Stories, he creates the most fantastical of worlds — one that’s only possible because everyone else is as isolated as Hanks’s Postman.
Even as “the movie looked like it could emerge as an August sleeper hit,” THR points out that The Postman seems destined to be a tough sell for commercial audiences. In the past week, only two films have opened to good box office numbers. Rounding out the top five are the World War II drama Dunkirk and the animated film The Emoji Movie. What seems apparent is that both are, for reasons largely irrelevant to anything near the problems of the universe, delivering heavily emotional drama.
But The Postman doesn’t follow that same formula, with scenes which land hard, and often darkly. It also seems to be arriving at a moment when audiences aren’t conditioned to expect anything familiar from stars who haven’t starred in an action movie or blockbuster since 2010’s The Day the Earth Stood Still.
For many, it’s become trite to argue that big stars in general are tied to specific types of projects, but it’s a thing that’s just not true. So Hanks fans are probably going to be happy to have seen the Saturday Night Live sketch lampooning him, except that it makes no mention of The Postman, and tells people “there’s a lot of great stuff out there, dude.”
Read the full story at Variety.
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