The following is an excerpt from Kyle Stock | February 24, 2017 | Bloomberg.com |
Brassy love ballads, Technicolor dialogue, and a smattering of soft-shoe–La La Land had all the makings of a blockbuster, in the 1940s at least. Today, the mass market of moviegoers prefer action to romance, aliens to artists, and above all else the blossoming genre of superhero bros in tights.
It’s no surprise that La La Land was a hit with critics and remains the heavy favorite to win the Academy Award for Best Picture on Feb. 26. What’s improbable, however, is how widely the film has won favor. Of late, the most critically praised films tended to have little clout with consumers: The Hurt Locker, which won Academy bragging rights in 2009, managed just $17 million in domestic theaters, for example. But La La Land is packing them in like an esoteric jazz club that suddenly becomes the “it” spot. Life, it seems, is following the script.
“We all thought it was going to be something very special,” Erik Feig, co-president of the motion picture group at Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., said in an interview. “But if you asked any of us if we were going to be approaching $400 million, we would have told you to wake up.”
With a win on Sunday and a corresponding bump from Oscar buzz, La La Land will likely become the top-grossing Best Picture since Lord of the Rings: Return of the King in 2003. Going into this weekend, the paean to the city of angels had garnered $135 million in domestic theaters and an additional $206 million abroad.
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