Sandra Bullock’s box office take over the last five years is as good or better than most male leads. The same can be said of Melissa McCarthy, who also has the attention of about 10 million viewers a week on Mike and Molly when she’s not on the big screen. Both of them have been integral to the marketing and promotion of their films, so it’s clearly not that moviegoers won’t watch a blockbuster with a woman in the lead.
But in very specific terms, Gravity was marketed as a co-headlining movie from Bullock and George Clooney, but anyone who saw it knows that it was Bullock’s film. Clooney was perceived as being necessary to market the movie in spite of the fact that since 2008, his movies have generated about $634 million total at the domestic box office, compared to Bullock’s $891 million. During that time, Clooney made nine films to Bullock’s six, meaning that the per-film average is even more heavily skewed in Bullock’s favor.
During that time, the total budget for Clooney’s films came to a minimum of $307 million and the budget for Bullocks clocked in at $214 million. That means that for every dollar spent producing a George Clooney film, the studio saw $2.07 back. That isn’t half bad, really. You know what it is half of? The $4.15 they saw on every Sandra Bullock dollar they spent during the same five-year period. Each of them had a couple of low-budget indie films and a couple of failures during the five-year period, but Clooney–the name Warner Bros. was convinced was necessary to promote the film–averaged just over $70 million per film during that period while Bullock averaged upwards of $148 million.
She has been solidifying her place by playing memorable yet uniquely different roles, such as the beautiful and emotionally fraught Naoko in Norwegian Wood, and most recently Mako Mori, the adopted daughter of a marshal and ranger for the Pan Pacific Defense Corps, in Pacific Rim.
Her selection of these roles is often driven by who is helming the film. “For me, in thinking about how I could contribute in the international battleground, who I collaborate with is very important. When I work with non-American directors, there’s a sense of camaraderie, a sense of common purpose of expressing yourself in the world of cinema that is dominantly American. It’s also important who you team up with when the relationships last for about a year, with not just shooting but also doing promotion. So it helps when you feel people you work with have similar experiences as you do.”
Kikuchi has been captivated by the cinematic world since her youth. Everybody in her family was drawn to a specific movie genre: her mother, the classics; her dad, Westerns; her two older brothers, action and sci-fi. She herself discovered John Cassavetes’ films, starring his wife Gena Rowlands, and found them so appealing that they became an influential push in her decision to pursue acting.
Rinko Kikuchi for Flaunt