Eat Pray Love hasn’t done very much since opening last weekend. It’s not being totally ignored but it is kind of piddling along with revenues diving from seven days ago and an apparent $36 million cume after eight days. And I’m a little surprised. I’ll bet a lot of people are. This was supposed to have legs and not drop all that much, but it fell 57%. I’ll bet Julia Roberts is looking at the numbers this morning and saying to herself, “Well, I’m proud of what we did, however much money it makes.”
I know the willingness to see EPL among somewhat older women, particularly among those who either hadn’t read the book or who don’t go to films that much (or both), was there. I spoke to three or four older women who all said “this I’m going to see!” And what happened to all the ladies who did buy Elizabeth Gilbert’s book (and in some instances read it more than once), and who were expected to come out in droves and bring their friends and then go to restaurants in groups of four and five and talk it over and drink wine and shriek with laughter?
I know for a fact that Eat Pray Love is reasonably decent in sections, and that Richard Jenkins delivers in that one Indian rooftop scene, and that Javier Bardem charms and really acts, and that the Rome/India/Bali footage is certainly beautiful, and that it unfolds like a class act with some really nice Neil Young music on the soundtrack…so what happened?
Is it that Roberts’ character seems a little too stuck on herself and her issues? That she seems out of touch with ground-level concerns? Or is Roberts herself simply over as a box-office attraction (which is also what people were saying after the fizzle of Duplicity)? Or is it that the film, while agreeable here and there, simply didn’t provide what female moviegoers wanted?