Lyric mecca and burgeoning news blog Genius posited a question as old as the term as “box office poison,” and the question is this: why are major media sources reporting that Melissa McCarthy’s career is flailing when her movies are making money?
Here’s a simple breakdown of McCarthy’s movies: while many have done poorly in terms of critical reviews (if we’re going by stats provided by Rotten Tomatoes or reviews from the New York Times, which Genius cited in their analysis) they’ve scored when it comes to gross profit.
Here’s a handy guide to worldwide gross profits for McCarthy’s movies:
As Genius reported, when it comes to major media outlets like NYT, it goes further that that: it’s not about recording stats, but the opposite:
“’Melissa McCarthy succeeded at the box office in ‘The Boss,’ but just barely, with opening-weekend ticket sales for her latest vehicle on the low end of prerelease analyst expectations,’ the article reads.
Barnes does not give further information on these ‘prerelease analyst expectations.’ For all we know, they could be the whispers of his invisible friends. Barnes goes on to note that ‘box office wobbliness and reviews complaining of a repetitious shtick have started to hound Ms. McCarthy,’ but offers no evidence of said box office wobbliness or the fact that it has started to hound McCarthy.”
And in contrast, this:
“In Hollywood, $65 million is not that hefty. The average cost of making a movie was, as of 2014, more than $40 million. And, of course, ‘Spy’ went on to gross more than $236 million. All told, the Washington Post reports, her films have grossed more than $1 billion.”
So when it comes to the idea of box office poison—a term originally coined in a 1938 magazine article in reference to actresses Kay Francis, Marlene Dietrich, Katharine Hepburn, and Greta Garbo, among others—even the synthesis between profit and critical worth seems a bit hyperbolic.
As Genius put it: “great question.”
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