Miley Cyrus got the shaft. So did Demi Moore, Ashley Greene Golden Globe nominated actor Thomas Jane and Hollywood legend Marlo Thomas. Lions Gate Entertainment Corp left them all twisting in the wind.
The film studio pulled the rug out from under their movie, “LOL: Laughing Out Loud,” to focus on block busters.
While the actors, crew and director Lisa Azuelos-Alessandrin, were all hurt by the studio, Miley is bearing the brunt of this fiasco because the picture was a starring vehicle for her.
It’s a shame because LOL may not be an Academy Award contender, but it’s certainly on par with any of the rom-coms Jennifer Aniston has cranked out. The French version, also directed by Azuelos, was a smash hit.
But it never got the support required to launch a successful movie. Lionsgate did virtually no marketing. Not surprising since it was struggling itself, and on the verge of a hostile takeover by corporate raider Carl Ichan.
It acquired the U.S. distribution rights from Mandate Pictures in Oct. 2010, while it was under Ichan’s assault. Mandate was a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lionsgate, operating as an independent brand. LOL marked the first collaboration between the two, according to Variety.
Ichan dropped his bid in late 2010 and last January, Lions Gate acquired Summit Entertainment , home of the “Twilight” franchise, in sort of a reverse merger. Since then, it’s shifted its focus to big blockbuster films.
Its signal success since the merger has been “The Hunger Games,” the first of four movies based on Suzanne Collins’ best-selling novels.
Against the riptide from that film, LOL was swept out to sea. The film was released in just 105 theaters last weekend, and went up against the biggest film of the year, “The Avengers.” Needless to say, it never had a chance. It gross just $46,500 over the weekend.
Which is not surprising since marketing for “LOL” was dumped on the studio’s home entertainment division. Without the muscle of its theatrical marketing arm, it was doomed from the start.
In fact, the film would have gone straight to DVD, if not for a contract provision requiring a US release to support the film’s overseas distribution, according to deadline.com.
That poor theatrical showing led critics like Variety’s Joe Leydon to pronounce Miley’s career all but over.
“That Lionsgate gave this star vehicle such a half-hearted theatrical dump May 4, speaks volumes about the dimmed wattage of toplined Miley Cyrus, whose charisma-free performance may, in turn, serve as a cautionary example for teen pop phenoms seeking to break out into ‘mature’ screen roles,” he wrote.
And what would that example be? Watch who you do business with?
Say what you will about Miley’s off-screen antics, she’s a proven winner as an actress. She’s also not the first actor to get stabbed in the back by a studio.
The LOL fiasco says nothing about her acting ability or star power. Hopefully it won’t dim her prospects down the road.