It’s common in Hollywood that a young actor just starting out will get involved in a dreadful film that would otherwise never see the light of day, but subsequent to the filming of that movie, the actor in question hits it big, and his or her past cinematic sins are released to exploit that actor’s newfound fame. That wasn’t exactly the case for this weekend’s release of Red Dawn — that movie was delayed for years due to the bankruptcy of MGM. However, in the interim, a couple of the stars of the Red Dawn — which was shot in 2009 — have since become big names, thanks to major franchise hits like The Hunger Games and Thor. The film debuted over the weekend — the biggest Thanksgiving box-office weekend of all time — in 7th place, with a modest $22 million over the five days. Would it have performed better if it’d been released as originally scheduled? Unlikely. The $22 million opening is, however, far better than most movies which are delayed or unearthed after an actor hits it big.
Here are 15 such instances.
Red Dawn (Chris Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson). Filmed before Thor and Avengers, as well as The Hunger Games, released afterward: $22 million Thanksgiving weekend.
House at the End of the Street (Jennifer Lawrence). Filmed Before Hunger Games, released after: $31 million.
Case 39 (Bradley Cooper). Filmed Before The Hangover, released after: $13 million.
All About Steve (Bradley Cooper, Sandra Bullock). Filmed Before The Hangover and The Proposal, released after both: $33 million.
Paper Man (Ryan Reynolds, Emma Stone). Filmed Before The Proposal, X-Men: Wolverine and Zombieland, released after all three: $13,000.
Adventureland (Kristen Stewart). Filmed Before Twilight, released after: $16 million.
Little Ashes (Robert Pattinson). Filmed Before Twilight, released after: $481,000.
Detention (Josh Hutcherson). Filmed before Hunger Games, released after: Box-office unavailable (i.e., not much).
Phantoms (Ben Affleck). Filmed before Good Will Hunting, released after: $5.6 million.
Smart People (Ellen Page). Filmed Before Juno, released after: $9.5 million.
Blood Red (Julia Roberts). Filmed Three Years Before Mystic Pizza, released after (should’ve waited a year and released it after Pretty Woman): $15,000.
Camp Hell (Jesse Eisenberg). Filmed before Zombieland and The Social Network, DVD release pending Eisenberg’s lawsuit to prevent the filmmakers from capitalizing on his cameo, shot in 2007.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation (Charming Potato). Filmed Before His Huge Year (21 Jump Street, The Vow, Magic Mike), and Delayed to Add More Potato Scenes (in the original cut, he died). Not yet released.
Ingenious (Jeremy Renner). Filmed before The Hurt Locker. Release pending funding.
Copper Mountain (Jim Carrey). Filmed in 1983 (was also the feature film debut of Alan Thicke). Unreleased in the United States, but released in Germany on DVD in 2006 to exploit Carrey’s fame. The trailer will make you weep.
Meanwhile, at the weekend box-office, it was the holdovers who held the top spots: Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part II and SkyfallLincoln, continued to hold that spot, as well, bringing in another $34 million to bring its total to $62 million.
Rise of the Guardians, the animated film seeking to exploit the holiday season, opened poorly with only $31 million over the five-day frame, below last year’s The Muppets $41 million on the same weekend. Life of PI came in at number six with $30 million over the Thanksgiving weekend, performing better than last year’s Hugo which targeted a similar audience.
Wreck-It-Ralph also added $16 million despite new competition from Guardians, and it’s total now stands at $150 million.
In more limited release (367 theaters), Silver Linings Playbook made $5.9 million, while Rust and Bone (2 theaters) made $30,000 and Hitchcock grossed a tepid $301,000 in 17 theaters.