Audiences hate Russell Crowe (and ‘Skyline’)

Audiences hate Russell Crowe (and ‘Skyline’)

Next Three Days Russell Crowe

Russell Crowe is one of our finest actors. Period.

But movie goers don’t seem keen on paying good money to see him.

His 2009 drama “State of Play” tanked at the box office, and this past summer’s “Robin Hood” couldn’t rally enough enthusiasm to start a new franchise.

Crowe’s latest film, “The Next Three Days,” came in a disappointing fifth over the weekend. Not only did it get steamrolled by “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1″ – no shame there – but three films already in wide release also managed to whup it.

What gives?

Crowe’s private life has drawn some scrutiny, but he’s hardly in Mel Gibson territory. And he does everything a modern actor is required to do, from altering his appearance for the right role and tag-teaming with some of the best directors around (Ron Howard, Ridley Scott and Paul Haggis to name just three).

This film critic is at a loss. Any guesses?

The weekend’s box office results also revealed a real distaste for “Skyline,” the alien invasion flick from the Brothers Strauss. The film plummeted more than 70 percent from its first week tally.

Update: The LA Times film blog takes a crack at the Crowe mystery and compares his masculine appeal to that of movie icon Steve McQueen.

(Photo: Russell Crowe plays a dedicated husband in the new thriller “The Next Three Days,” directed by Paul Haggis of “Crash” fame. Photo credit: Phil Caruso/Lionsgate Films)

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Scott "Kubryk" SawitzNo Gravatar November 22, 2010 at 3:32 am


He’s a lot like Sean Penn … I wouldn’t say that they hate him, but he usually does a lot of prestige pictures and drama as opposed to massive blockbusters & popcorn flicks. Robin Hood was the exception …look at his last five films before 2010:

State of Play
Body of Lies
American Gangster
3:10 to Yuma
A Good Year

Not exactly films going in designed to pump up box office revenues over critical acclaim. More films designed to find larger audiences on DVD than in theaters …

drewsterNo Gravatar November 22, 2010 at 3:54 am

While I looked forward to seeing this film, it was marketed as a run of the mill thriller/action flick, of which there have been many. When I showed the trailer to a friend of mine, his response was, “heh”. So my guess, it was the marketing. Besides, there was no way any film was going to beat Harry Potter.

ShaneNo Gravatar November 22, 2010 at 4:34 pm

I think personality plays into his box office returns. He comes off as extremely pompous. A little humility wouldn’t hurt his career at all. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate him, I can’t think of a movie I didn’t like him in.

I do agree with Scott, his last few movies other than Robin Hood haven’t been real crowd pleasers and even Robin Hood was off the mark. I liked 3:10 to Yuma, but the other ones mentioned, I couldn’t tell the difference between them (one had DiCaprio in it I think.)

EricPNo Gravatar November 22, 2010 at 6:54 pm

Love Crowe, but seeing Next Three Days boils down to this for me, CT, something we briefly discussed on Radio Free Threedonia many moons ago: are there any credible Pittsburgh accents in the movie? Discriminating “yunzers” need to know … n’at.

BillNo Gravatar November 22, 2010 at 8:18 pm

For me, no specific actor draws me to a film. I won’t automatically go see a film just because an actor I like might be in it. The opposite is true though. Many actors will make me pass on a film. I suppose that could be the case with Russell Crowe.

filmgoerNo Gravatar November 22, 2010 at 8:47 pm

Crowe is one of the finest actor of today. His resume proves it. I liked “State of Play” and thought “Body of Lies” was one of the finest film of that year. I am thinking he gets an undeserving bad rap as many of his film don’t seem to be promoted very well. On the other hand, Washington isn’t setting the box office on fire, or Cruise, or Clooney, or Damon, or even DiCaprio etc. So…

je pressmanNo Gravatar November 22, 2010 at 9:03 pm

Gee Mr.Toto what a friendly opening statement ,”Does the audience hate Russell Crowe?” Okay Crowe’s last four films have been in the top 100 rental list over at Netflix,for a very long time. Yuma and Gangster have been there longer than a year and both of those movies were top DVD sellers in 2008. Crowe was just on Charlie Rose and he did not come across as pompous either there or on Craig Ferguson.Crowe hasn’t played in any comicbook/superhero movies,so that worldwide massive audience most likely doesn’t see his dramas. This is the age of movie fantasy..bigtime,You know once upon a time the kind of films Crowe does were mainstream, times have changed. However for movies with a serious take plus the fact that he hasn’t made too many movies ,his films have made $2,268,588.229 .Perhaps he should make another western,or do a police character or some cerebral sci/fi.

JohnNo Gravatar November 22, 2010 at 9:15 pm

My wife and I saw “The Next Three Days” and found it very entertaining. The acting was solid and the script/plot were well done. Not sure how realistic it was but good entertainment non the less. Most movies are not realistic to belabor the point. I like Crowe and think he is a great actor. I did not like the Robin Hood remake but I do enjoy his movies for the most part. Like Bill, I don’t go to films due to the actor staring in it.

ravenNo Gravatar November 22, 2010 at 9:25 pm

Just the way it rolls. People don’t go to movies anymore for stars, at least not nearly as they used to. Don’t take it personally, Russell. Just find better material.

ImChiquitaNo Gravatar November 22, 2010 at 9:32 pm

Do audiences hate Russell Crowe?

Not at all. I think we just shy away from films that have agendas behind their story lines.

Liberal sucker punches and Leftist ideologues behind the cameras keep me away from films. But that’s not to say I won’t watch it when it’s available to own.

And this – from a die-hard Russell Crowe fan!

JohnJNo Gravatar November 22, 2010 at 9:51 pm

Clearly Americans are too racist to accept an Australian actor. Racism explains everything.

Sir Eddie CookNo Gravatar November 22, 2010 at 10:21 pm

Russell Crowe is a fatso. He is cool when he works hard and tries, but that doesn’t happen very often since he started cashing big checks.

The guy who Hollywood needs to come down on is Matt Damon. He makes more bombs than Russell Crowe. But Matt Damon is political, so he’s insulated for now.

CharleyNo Gravatar November 22, 2010 at 10:27 pm

Russell Crowe lost stock after his assault on the hotel clerk. He became a thug and that bothers people. An actor/public figure brands themselves by such incidents and makes them toxic to the public. I saw “TN3D” and it was alright. The last 45 minutes were entertaining but it took a lot of bellyaching to get there.

I found him compelling in Gladiator and in A Beautiful Mind, but his presence on screen sort of irritates me now. He’s good at the strong-willed man, but I wouldn’t say he’s the finest actor of our time.

BenNo Gravatar November 22, 2010 at 10:42 pm

Certainly Russel Crowe is a good actor, but he’s no Will Ferrel.

SouthSideShortyNo Gravatar November 22, 2010 at 10:56 pm

Am I the only one who thought the trailer divulged way too much—i.e., the entire plot, save for the ending? Perhaps ’twas the marketers who doomed poor Rusty this time around . . .

whiskeyNo Gravatar November 22, 2010 at 10:56 pm

Crowe just does not capture the public imagination, the way Harrison Ford did from around 1977 to 1992, or Bruce Willis did from 1988 through 1996, or Mel Gibson from around 1980 through 1996 did.

And this is really a fault of the films that he makes, or rather, their writing. The classic film leading man is a well, a man. With classic scenes of conflict: Ford in the Fugitive (with Tommy Lee Jones), Bruce Willis and Alan Rickman in Die Hard, Mel Gibson in the Lethal Weapon movies and against Gary Sinise in Ransom.

This is what audiences want to see, an updated version of the old West showdowns. A great hero up against a great villain, the hero winning by virtue of being … the better man.

Now, Crowe might arguably be a better actor than those guys. The movies he makes better written. But that’s like arguing that America should really go to expensive restaurants and pay top prices for grilled artichokes and beef tongue when what they really want is a really good burger.

In short, people want to see showdowns and they get an acting class.

EricPNo Gravatar November 22, 2010 at 10:59 pm

>>An actor/public figure brands themselves by such incidents and makes them toxic to the public.>>

I see your point, Charley, but raise you that Charlie Sheen is still somehow on a top-rated TV show.

JettboyNo Gravatar November 22, 2010 at 11:27 pm

I will have to agree with Im chaquita and whiskey. Too many movies say “agenda,” mostly liberal, rather than entertainment. People go to enjoy a night out and not be brow beat and called names. If they want that then people would pester next door neighbors or spouses more. That doesn’t mean a message film can’t be a big hit or must lean conservative. It just needs to be less confrontational for one issue or another. Either that or the movie needs to have so many other things going for it (like Avatar that I personally found stupid and hypocritical) that the message can be ignored or laughed at as secondary.

dannyNo Gravatar November 23, 2010 at 12:08 am

It’s rare that I’ll give a movie an ‘awful’ review – I can usually find something of interest, even if it’s only of interest to me! Having just been to see Skyline however, I felt numbed and cheated – I hadn’t paid, but I still felt I was owed some money back… With no likable characters, a ‘plot’ that goes from bad to worse to literally nothing.


MichelleNo Gravatar November 23, 2010 at 1:19 am

don’t take it so personally, movie critic guy.
sometimes its not the actor, just the storyline.
I really think we are waiting for a real American hero movie.
Cinderella Man was fantastic!
But Hollywood insists, to its own demise, that they know us better than we know us.
BUT…. they don’t; they continue to put out these eewww…. America is so evil…..eeewwww….. conspiracy this and that crap, expecting us to be impressed.
Oh and one other thing; it really is getting boring and old to see the Cameron’s, Stone’s, etal…. movies.
See the above as to why.
We get it.
Stone is a joke, Cameron is a hypocritical ass.
So why the hell would we pay to see the crap they sell us.

JoeNo Gravatar November 23, 2010 at 3:14 am

While I can’t answer the Crowe question, I can speak for myself as why myself, someone who loves sci-fi films, did NOT desire to see “Skyline”. It was the first trailer, later dropped, which featured Dan Rather equating an alien invasion with this country’s colonization and treatment of the native Americans. Preach it somewhere else Dan. And if a film company wants my business, they will need to stop their preaching down to me in order to get it. I’m really thankful I saw that initial trailer because it saved me the money and the anger I would’ve felt if this had hit me in the face in the theater after I’d laid down my hard earned cash.

PeterNo Gravatar November 23, 2010 at 3:23 am

He’s a surly, rude, self centered, prick. What more do you want to alienate a movie PAYING customer?

CatoNo Gravatar November 23, 2010 at 7:07 am

I agree with Whiskey’s point completely. Russell Crowe seems drawn to roles for their “importance.” Those kind of movies rarely attract “Gladiator”-like box office receipts. And they always seem to gravitate toward the left point of view, toward the left’s concerns.

Take Crowe’s latest film, for example. Haven’t seen it, but based on the trailer, I can surmise that it’s about Crowe’s wife being wrongfully imprisoned for murder. How many of the movie-going public can identify with this problem? Most of us are more worried about being victimized by criminals rather than by the court system. The film just reeks of left-leaning righteousness. If I wanted to feel that way, I’d tune into MSNBC, thank you.

One more thing about Crowe: his movies seem especially joyless of late. We want our heroes to have a twinkle in the eye (see, e.g., Harrison Ford, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, etc., etc.). He seems to take himself so utterly seriously these days. “Robin Hood,” for instance, is supposed to be a fun role full of mirth and joie de vivre. But Crowe’s version walked around with a scowl all the time. When Crowe learns to regain his bliss, the audience will show up.

James FrazierNo Gravatar November 24, 2010 at 5:07 am

Russell Crowe is one of the best A-list stars around today, IMO. But star power and talent seem to mean very little now if people don’t care about what they’re in. “The Next Three Days” just looked too ordinary. If you watched the trailer, what are the odds that anyone would think that the film had the potential to be amazing? The mundane and predictable just ain’t doing it, anymore.

AlericNo Gravatar November 24, 2010 at 4:34 pm

Crowe brings too much baggage to most of his roles. Add in that he comes off as pompous and an ass sometimes and you have a formula that turns off a lot of people. When he plays characters that are generic heroes and is under a strong willed director his movies are more focused and he is the everyman ideal. But when he takes control of the part and uses his star power to shape the role into what he wants then you get the lack luster appeal such as Body of Lies, State of Play and American Gangster, forgetable roles. He doesnt want to be an action star in the vein of Willis and Ford but that is what he is good at so he takes roles to counter the genre and we get crappy movies.

TRONo Gravatar November 26, 2010 at 12:58 pm

It’s the roles Crowe chooses, not his work as an actor. I think most of his movies are just to “heavy” for broad appeal.

The last film I enjoyed him in was Master and Commander, but that was because of the story, not him.

As to Skyline – WORST SCI FI MOVIE EVER! Or at least in the top three. Great CGI, but bad writing, bad acting, and a very depressing ending do not make for good crowds. (I was in the line to see Harry Potter the other day and a guy behind me told his wife he wanted to see Skyline. I immediately turned around and said, “No, you don’t” and explained why. Hopefully I saved them from the torment of watching Turk’s laughable attempt at playing a rap star.

LizNo Gravatar November 27, 2010 at 2:36 am

“He comes off as extremely pompous.” “he comes off as pompous and an ass”
I’m kinda curious about responses such as this. I’ve watched Crowe for several years on Leno, Letterman,de Generes,Charlie Rose and yes, even Martha Stewart. He seems to come across as funny, very self-deprecating and a devoted father. Seems like a nice guy to me.
So…I’m not arguing with the above statements – just wondering where and when the posters observed this. And maybe, just maybe, if it was several years ago he deserves a reassessment…?
By the way, all those TV appearances are easily viewed on YouTube.

HeidiNo Gravatar November 28, 2010 at 6:36 pm

I like him.
He’s a great actor and obviously doesn’t really “fit in” in Hollywood. I think that’s what hurts him the most.
I think he’s a great actor, very interesting and ever-so-slightly sexy.

jcNo Gravatar March 13, 2011 at 4:41 am

“Clearly Americans are too racist to accept an Australian actor. Racism explains everything.”
Heh? Americans hate:
Nicole Kidman?
Paul Hogan?
Cate Blanchette?
Geoffrey Rush?
Heath Ledger?
Tilda Swinton?

Oh, and I think you mean ehthnocentrism not racism.

JacksonNo Gravatar November 14, 2012 at 3:53 am

No I actually despise Russel Crowe, far more than I could ever hate Sean Penn who I’ve never really liked much either. But, unlike most of the blind, imperceptive people on the planet who’s eyes narrow when they hear spin, I can actually imagine what Mel Gibson went through pouring his soul into the Passion of the Christ. Did the Pharisees work to have Christ killed because he would undermine their power and riches? Until history disproves it. So he noticed that the Pharisees were in fact Jewish. Does that mean that Mel Gibson is a bad person for recognizing that having someone killed for money and power is wrong? Umm, use your brain here. Does that not mean that people acutely misinterpreted what he in fact said to the attending officers? Rule no.1: Never believe anyone who has lied in court. Police lie in court all the time, because the judge can’t do anything to them unless they are the defendant.
Rule No.2: never believe the police because they are not paid to do the right thing, they are paid to enforce laws and prosecute when and wherever possible. The police are not your friends, they are not here to help you, they are here to prosecute and destroy lives wherever they can. Yes the truth is unsettling for many people. Too bad. If you can’t get your head around the realities then it would not surprise if your short-sighted and feeble-minded enough to be part of the Russel Crowe fan club. As far as I am concerned it would make good sense to boycott the Studios that employ that waste of skin. I will never spend a dime on any movie he is in. However that said, I will go to Mel Gibsons movies, because I for one recognize the difference between what a depressed drunk person says(Mel Gibson), and praising a violent, sadistic bully (Russel Crowe). There’s a reason that the world is a screwed-up poop stain, and the inability to recognize things for what they actually are (Russel Crowe’s fans), are it.
PS: If you drive a man over the edge with harassment and he shoots your teacher and all your friends, if they lock him up or kill him then it is outright injustice: because make no mistake, it is you who are to blame.

zazouNo Gravatar December 4, 2012 at 3:43 am

. The audience Idoes like Crowe but some bloggers don’t and they push this negative stuff.What a world. Crowe is one of the best screen actors I’ve seen, interesting, compelling and inventive.This nobody likes Crowe is invention and very tacky

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