Mad Money and 27 Dresses: Going for the Same Audiences

January 5, 2008–Overture, the new studio knew that its first release, “Mad Money,” a comedy starring Diane Keaton, Queen Latifah and Katie Holmes as robbers, would face the creature feature “Cloverfield” from Paramount when it opens January 18. Now it may face Fox's romantic comedy “27 Dresses,” moved back by a week to the same opening date.

Starring Katherine Heiglfrom “Grey's Anatomy” and “Knocked Up” as a perpetual bridesmaid whose dream man is about to marry her sister, “27 Dresses” is targeted at females, so the switch could cut into the audience for “Mad Money.”

But Overture Chief Executive Chris McGurk said he had a “feel-good comedy for everybody” that was testing well with males also and whose stars appealed to a cross section. “It's wrong to typecast us as a female movie,” said McGurk, a former vice chairman of MGM. “We don't have the word 'Dresses' in our title.”

He said there would be “plenty of audience to go around” on the Martin Luther King Day weekend. Overture, which bought domestic rights to “Mad Money” for less than $10 million, will do well if the movie grosses more than $20 million during its full run, McGurk said.

Fox's move stems at least in part from the surprising success of the comedy “Juno” from its sister company, Fox Searchlight. Fox was concerned that with “Juno” expanding to almost 2,000 theaters this weekend, it and “27 Dresses” would “butt heads” for the female audience January 11, said Bruce Snyder, the studio's president of domestic distribution.

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