Although the strong weekend likely assured that 2007 will eclipse last year in ticket sales, the fortune did not extend to Walk Hard. The John C. Reilly comedy, a spoof of movie biographies such as Ray and Walk the Line, was expected to do about $10 million. Despite strong reviews, it managed only eighth place with $4.1 million.
"We're at a loss," says Rory Bruer, distribution chief for Sony Pictures, which released the movie. "We have a really funny movie that everyone at the studio worked really hard on.
"There was no shortage of star power out there this weekend," Bruer says. "Our hope is that as the holidays set in and people have time off, word will spread about what a good movie we've got." (USA Today)
Judd Apatow almost had a perfect year in 2008. Knocked-Up and Superbad were knockouts, delivering barrel laughs on the backs of sweet story lines. But Walk Hard is a mere 0-5 laugh generator on the back of a tired parody movie plot line (come back Scary Movie 3... all is forgiven!). If I were Apatow (co-writer & producer), I would disown it as soon as my first biography is written fifteen years down the road. Walk Hard should've been slotted as a January/February dump film rather than a Christmas weekend trophy film.
Watching this mess is watching another reunion of the Apatow/Adam McKay/SNL troupe, and that group's biggest offender, unfortunately, is Walk Hard's director and co-writer... Jake Kasdan. If you remember Kasdan's other 2007 film The TV Set (does anybody??) you'll know that he's now owner of two of the worst comedies of the year. It's quite easy to daydream a "what if..." about the end product of Walk Hard had Apatow plopped down in the director's chair instead.
So, it's equally as easy to place all of the blame on Kasdan's poor comic sensibilities - he deserves most of it - but you gotta question why the talent involved here (and there's a lot of it: Apatow, John C. Reilly, Kristen Wiig, Justin Long, Tim Meadows etc.) didn't step in and have a "quality" intervention. Maybe it's because they've all been flying high for too long, or maybe it was some kind of "emperor's new clothes" mind freeze. Whatever the case, hopefully they've awoken to the hard fact that Walk Hard falls hard,... and then the next go around won't be quite so disastrous.