In the May 23rd issue of Entertainment Weekly Karen Valby went where so many others have gone as of late: she complained about the drought of female-centric stories in Hollywood movies, arguing, “I have money to spend at the movies. My book club already has a date to see The Fault in Our Stars (the most liked trailer in YouTube history), just as we did for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (the No. 1 movie in 2013). I took my daughter to see Frozen (the animated film with the highest international grosses ever) five times in theaters.”
Well, more than just Karen Valby’s book club has a date to see The Fault in Our Stars. A lot more. According to THR, The Fault in Our Stars, which comes out this Friday (6/6), has sold the most advance tickets of any romantic drama in online ticket agency Fandango’s 14-year history, even better than The Vow. What does that mean, exactly? Don’t be surprised if The Fault in Our Stars makes a ton of money at the box office this weekend. How much? Well, The Vow opened with $41 million over Valentine’s Day two years ago, but now sad, little dying cancer-girl indie Fault in Our Stars has sold more advance tickets. Does that mean it will have an even bigger opening, even without the benefit of the Valentine’s Day bump like The Vow? Not so fast. The experts think Fault in Our Stars‘ ceiling for opening weekend gross won’t be any higher than $30-32 million.
Here’s the crazy thing: if Fault does pull down a $30 million opening it has a strong shot at not only finishing #1 at the weekend box office but beating Tom Cruise’s $178 million blockbuster Edge of Tomorrow in the process. Just as Jennifer Lawrence and The Hunger Games toppled Robert Downey, Jr. and Iron Man 3 at the domestic box office last year Shailene Woodley could embarrass old man Cruise this weekend.
Of course, it’s not like Edge of Tomorrow, which earned a very soft $20 million in limited international play last weekend, is some clear representation of male hegemony which deserves to be toppled by Shailene Woodley, our new fierce soldier for all things women. Emily Blunt is a right-on bad-ass in Edge of Tomorrow, more of an action star than Tom Cruise for the majority of the film’s running length which sees the pair caught in a Groundhog Day-esque on the day of a massive battle with aliens on Earth. Just look at the big-ass sword (or bat or chainsaw) she’s wielding on the poster:
In fact, for as much as these kinds of things matter Edge of Tomorrow is almost universally regarded by critics as the best non-Mission Impossible Tom Cruise film in ages, earning a 87% Fresh Rating on RottenTomatoes. After last year’s similar sci-fi flicks Oblivion and Elyisum both under-performed at the domestic box office, Edge of Tomorrow may feel too familiar to some audience, kind of like, “Didn’t I just see a Tom Cruise sci-fi movie last year?” Yes; yes you did. It was called Oblivion. This was one’s much better. We swear.
Yet here we are with Edge of Tomorrow currently tracking to make just under $30 million at the box office this weekend and ultimately failing to reach $100 million domestic during its theatrical run. Considering how poorly it’s already playing overseas that’s very, very not good for a film which cost nearly $200 million to make.
How much did Fault in Our Stars cost to make? $12 million, and it’s been an internet sensation ever since its trailer premiered. Now Fandango is reporting results of a survey of their Fault ticket buyers, “81% have read the book, while 80% plan to see the movie with a group of friends. Nearly 65% said Woodley was a motivating factor in their wanting to view the film.”
If you’re not on the Shailene Woodley train yet get hip to this. There was more to a recent Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon interview with Woodley than were allowed to see (as originally quoted over at Pajiba):
Halfway through the conversation, Fallon, who can border on golly-gee cheerleading during his interviews, said, “How do you feel about being compared to Jennifer Lawrence?”
Woodley paused. “Well,” she said. “Comparisons always lead to despair.” There was sudden silence, and then the audience, which was shocked and angry, began to boo. Fallon said something like “Whoa,” and Woodley held her ground. “As women, we are constantly told that we need to compare ourselves to a girl in school, to our co-workers, to the images in a magazine,” she told me later. “How is the world going to advance if we’re always comparing ourselves to others? I admire Jennifer Lawrence, but she’s everyone’s favorite person to compare me to. Is it because we both have short hair and a vagina? I see us as separate individuals. And that’s important. As women, our insecurities are based on all these comparisons. And that creates distress.”
The audience in Studio 6B wasn’t listening, and neither was Fallon. That section of the interview was cut by the Tonight Show producers: Later that evening, when the show aired, Woodley’s gender politics were erased. “It bothered me, because it’s human nature to feel bad if you are booed by an entire audience,” Woodley said, sounding completely unbothered.
Considering the current box office projections of Fault in Our Stars (as well as the Divergent sequels on the way) Woodley should have plenty more opportunities to say whatever she darn well pleases on The Tonight Show or any other talk shows in the near future. Whether or not they’ll actually air the good stuff, well, she can’t control everything, but she can apparently kick Tom Cruise’s butt.