Half of Lane Browne‘s Grantland analysis about the Tower Heist shortfall focuses on who got hurt the worst. Eddie Murphy, Ben Stiller, Brett Ratner and Universal Pictures are the top four. The quotes come from a high-level agent and a producer.
Best quote: “Between Heist‘s low numbers and his withdrawal from the Academy Awards, Eddie Murphy’s comeback has been pretty thoroughly derailed. ‘The shame of it is, Murphy would have killed at the Oscars,’ the producer says. ‘I was really looking forward to him as the antidote to Franco. I think he’s an incredibly smart and talented guy who has had so much success and been told how great he is for so long that he has no idea anymore who he really is.”
Ratner’s coarse comments “will hurt his career,” says the agent. “He isn’t talented enough to deal with the baggage that will linger for some time. This is a guy who started in music videos. Russell Simmons was his mentor. Not Martin Scorsese. He learned how to market and self-promote but not how to direct.”
The agent blames Universal for spending $75 to $100 million on Heist. “If they’d made [it] responsibly and for less money, an opening weekend of $25 million wouldn’t have been that bad,” he says. “The movie still wouldn’t have been a hit because it isn’t a good enough movie, but they wouldn’t have gotten hurt. That’s the key to the studio business — release a portfolio of movies and hope a few hit and no one movie wipes you out. Tower Heist is going to hurt them.”