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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Is it because Ben Stiller hates the handicapped?

Posted By on Sun, Aug 24, 2008 at 7:45 PM

After two weeks Tropic Thunder has pulled in $55 million. Which is respectable but hardly earth-shattering for a comedy that cost nearly $100 million to make and stars three pretty popular actors.

When you compare it to Stiller's last flick, the craptacular Hearthbreak Kid ($37 million), I have to wonder why this one didn't bring y'all out.

Was it because of the protests from American Association of People with Disabilities about Stiller's insensitivity to the mentally challenged?

Protests actually resulted in a fake website promoting Stiller's character's film called Simple Jack (the tagline was: "Once there was a retard" ) to be pulled down.

Or is it just summer blockbuster fatigue? Maybe an allergy to Jack Black?

A quick glance at Ben Stiller's box office track record shows us some incredible winners:

Night At The Museum = $250,863,268

Meet The Fockers = $279,261,160

Dodgeball = $114,326,736

Starskey & Hutch = $88,237,754

Along Came Polly = $88,097,164

Meet The Parents = $166,244,045

A couple of big losers:

Envy (also with Jack Black) = $13,562,325

Duplex = $9,692,135

And the last flick he helmed and starred in, Zoolander ($45,172,250 domestic), doing nearly as well with one quarter the budget. Remember, that's seven years ago in a thousand less theaters.

So, what gives? Are audiences just plain sick of Ben Stiller?

I have to wonder if it wasn't the seriously bad trailers that were supposed to promote the film. It seemed like Paramount and Dreamworks had no idea how to market the movie. Which is weird since it's a comedy... which should be an easy sell. Set up the story, throw in some choice jokes, spotlight the incredible cast and let the cat out of the bag that Tom Cruise plays a fat, balding pottymouthed Jewish executive who dances to gangsta rap. Presto change-o, instant box office.

Even as the studio botched the trailer, Stiller put out a pretty funny YouTube video that rivals some of the movie's better jokes.

Whatever the reason, Tropic Thunder just isn't making the splash I thought it might. Here's my review. I thought it was good enough for a summer comedy. If you decide to see it, get there in time for the opening trailers. they're worth the price of admission alone.

Okay, maybe half the price of admission.

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