Sandra Bullock has been away from Hollywood for a while to focus on her kids, but after turning down the opportunity to film The Lost City along with co-star Channing Tatum, the project stayed with her.
But she would only accept the role if the producers made some big edits to make the movie more palatable to women and moms.
The actress and producer, 57, shared that the movie originally had Tatum as the leading role, and Bullock asked for the female to not only be the lead but to exude the common characteristics that male roles possess in action films. To balance the dynamic with Channing, she requested that his character exhibit softer qualities.
“There weren’t any obstacles for the female character. And the male character we’ve seen before,” Bullock told The Hollywood Reporter. “I like that I’m not 25, And I love that there’s a man in it willing to be many aspects of himself that weren’t traditionally shown in films like this because they had to be the action hero. And Chan was so game. Let’s just do it.”
Bullock and her producer partner Liza Chasin, also wanted to bring the action-comedy to the theatre, instead of an online stream, even as the release of the films via Netflix and Hulu continues to become more popular.
They not only wanted to give people the opportunity to make it back into the theatre, but they wanted parents and families specifically, to enjoy a night out.
Bullock shared, “Women of a certain age that aren’t 18 don’t go out on the first weekend. We have other shit to take care of … like families and careers. That’s why, if you’re lucky, you have a movie that sticks around. This movie made it worth the trip to the movie theater.”
Her instincts were exactly right. While the movie didn’t have a complete box office blowout on opening night, it’s been a slow and steady winner at theaters as moms and older women slowly find time to make a trip out to see a movie that actually interests them — that has action, romance, and a departure from the maiden-in-distress trope that makes most working moms barf.
The movie opened on March 25 and has slowly made its way to netting $100 million in the United States alone. It’s also the second-highest grossing comedy released post-pandemic behind only Free Guy.
“Females made up 56 percent of all ticket buyers on opening weekend, followed by 59 percent the next — by far a pandemic record. “One of the significant accomplishments of this film was attracting this segment of the audience,” said Paramount domestic distribution chief Chris Aronson. In its second weekend, the number of moviegoers between ages 35 and 44 jumped from 18 percent to 20 percent, while those over the age of 55 went from 13 percent to 14 percent. To be sure, younger female adults also turned up. On the first weekend, 23 percent of ticket buyers were between ages 18-24 and 24 percent between ages 25-34.”
Bullock pushed for the movie to be released in the theater — her last two hits were both released on steaming only.
“Yes, streaming was blossoming, but there was no doubt in our mind that this was theatrical. We were filming it for theatrical. It was all about scope and scale,” Bullock said of the action-comedy-romance. “When you’re finally able to get back to the movies, what greater gift than to go see the kind of movie you haven’t seen in a long time in a theater.”
Bullock obviously knows how to pick projects and make them huge successes, but after her latest success, she’s stepping back again.
"I don't want to be beholden to anyone's schedule other than my own," she said. "I'm so burnt out. I'm so tired, and I'm so not capable of making healthy, smart decisions and I know it."
She’s looking forward to spending more time with her kids, she told Entertainment Tonight back in March.
"I take my job very seriously when I'm at work," she said. "And I just want to be 24/7 with my babies and my family. That's where I'm gonna be for a while."
You deserve the break, Sandra. Everyone can just watch their old favorites for a while.