Universal knew that Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts’ new summer movie "Larry Crowne" would play best to adults, but no one expected a full 71% of the audience to be over the age of 50.
“My goodness, there are bristlecone pines younger than this movie,” one rival studio exec said.
"Larry Crowne" opened over the long July 4th weekend to $15.7 million, widely labeled a disappointment, considering the star power of Hanks, 54, and Roberts, 43, previously two of the world’s big box office draws.
But as actors age, so do their audiences.
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According to CinemaScore, the outside firm that studios use to do exit polling, only 2% of "Larry Crowne’s" audience was under the age of 18, while 5% were between the ages of 18 and 24. That means 93% were over the age of 25.
That’s old even for an adult-skewing pic. Overall, "Larry Crowne" received a B CinemaScore.
Universal’s own exit polling was slightly different, showing that 81% of those buying tickets were over the age of 35, compared to CinemaScore’s 86%.
The studio distributed "Larry Crowne" on behalf of Hanks’ Playtone and Vendome Pictures, which fully financed the $30 million comedy-drama.Story: Tom Hanks takes on recession in 'Larry Crowne'
Hanks, who co-wrote the film with Nia Vardalos, was the biggest draw, according to CinemaScore (that makes sense, since 64% of the audience was female). Roberts was the second-biggest reason why moviegoers turned out.
"Larry Crowne" follows a veteran who loses his job and decides to enroll in community school, where he meets and falls for a teacher.Story: 3-D helps 'Transformers' to $400M global haul
Heading into the weekend, Universal and the filmmakers had modest expectations for the film, considering its reasonable production budget. The studio says the movie, like other adult-skewing titles, will continue to build its audience over time.
Last summer, Roberts’ film "Eat Pray Love" opened to $24 million, but ended up cuming $80.6 million domestically.
"Larry Crowne" is the second film pairing Hanks and Roberts after Charlie Wilson’s War. That film opened to $9.7 million, and cumed $66 million domestically.
"Larry Crowne" was designed to serve as counter programming to the action-packed "Transformers: Dark of the Moon," but it's always possible that "Dark of the Moon" kept some adults away from the film.
Copyright 2012 The Hollywood Reporter