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How a Byproduct of Millennial Mentality Suddenly Became Hollywood's Biggest Star

By Dustin Rowles | Box Office Round-Ups | March 18, 2012 |

By Dustin Rowles | Box Office Round-Ups | March 18, 2012 |

I’m not sure how it happened, but acting’s biggest joke since Keanu Reeves has suddenly and legitimately become the next … Keanu Reeves. Channing Tatum does it all, folks. He has a solid supporting turn in Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire, he played leading man opposite Rachel McAdams in the year’s second highest grossing film (so far), The Vow, and in his latest, he plays the buddy to Jonah Hill’s leading man in 21 Jump Street. And he’s the best part of the film. Worse still, for some goddamn reason, I can’t dislike the guy: He’s so earnest and unassuming, and he seems to know his limitations but doesn’t care. He plays above his limitations, and his daffy inability actually makes him more endearing. How did bland earnestness and a goofy smile become the most charming thing in Hollywood?

This is the work of those goddamn millennials. We had to know that giving everyone who participated a gold goddamn star would lead to this. Our no-losers culture has allowed a man with no discernible talent to succeed as an action movie star (G.I. Joe), an indie star (Haywire), an action-comedy (21 Jump Street), romance (Dear John, The Vow) and straight comedy (The Dilemma , and in case I need remind you, he was the best part of that movie, too). We live in a culture where no one wants to hurt anyone’s feelings, so no one bothered to tell Channing Tatum after Step Up that Step Up sequels was the best he could ever hope for. So he just kept going out for parts, and people kept hiring him because no one wanted to see that wooden, soulless look of disappointment on his face. The bar has moved so low that suddenly Channing Tatum towers above it.

Charming Potato is a motherfucking A-List star.

His latest, 21 Jump Street, alongside skinny Jonah Hill, opened at number one this weekend, piling on $35 million in receipts. It’s not a very good movie, but like Channing Tatum, it’s really hard to dislike. Goddamnit. That $35 million is the highest grossing movie for a film set in high school (even if it was a bit of a cheat), and it’s the highest grossing opening weekend for an R-Rated film outside of the summer season. That’s insane. The audience was also 47 percent female: That big funny shaped lunk of dead meat with a half-smirk is a draw for the ladies. What.the.fuck?

Good for him, though. Gold star, Channing Tatum. See, folks. Participation does matter. Don’t let a lack of talent get in the way of your dreams!

Elsewhere, in its third weekend, the year’s highest grossing film, The Lorax, added $22 million to its kitty, which now stands at $158 million. Meanwhile, John Carter, which stars Taylor Kitch, who is basically Channing Tatum with hair, continued to disappoint, dropping 55 percent to put up a measly $13.5 million in its second week. Project X dropped 64 percent, but it’s nearly $50 million box office puts it in the black, though the same cannot be said for Eddie Murphy’s A Thousand Words, which has grossed a paltry $12 million after 10 days.

Friends with Kids nearly doubled its number of theaters, but still fell 26 percent (word of mouth not so good, eh?) but Will Ferrell’s Spanish-language film was kind of a surprise, grossing $2.2 million despite it being in Spanish.

Oh, and Nicolas Cage had another new movie this weekend. I’d never even heard of Seeking Justice until this very moment. The film, which also stars January Jones and Guy Pearce, opened with $260,000 in 231 theaters. Maybe we’ll review it when it hits Netflix, which will probably be Wednesday, judging by its receipts.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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