Is the Ryan Reynolds business still booming?


Image Credit: Francois Duhamel

Green Lantern grossed more than $53 million over the weekend, but in a business where the bottom line is often wrapped in easily-manipulated expectations, the DC Comics’ sci-fi superhero launch was considered a misfire that might not earn enough green to warrant a sequel. Critics inflicted the deepest cuts, branding the film with a paltry 41-grade on Metacritic, but even audiences were listless. According to CinemaScore, men, who made up a whopping 64 percent of the audience, liked the film even less than their female counterparts. That’s a problem for a comic-book film with franchise ambitions.

But if Hal Jordan’s future is uncertain, what of Ryan Reynolds’? Entertainment Weekly‘s cover boy and People‘s Sexiest Man Alive had been poised for superstardom since charming audiences as Sandra Bullock’s assistant in The Proposal, and Green Lantern was to be his official promotion into the big leagues. Does Lantern‘s performance and underwhelming reception ruin his breakout moment, or merely postpone it? Though a few pundits carped about his glib nonchalance, many of Lantern‘s harshest detractors excused Reynolds from the wreckage. “He’s the soul of likability,” wrote EW’s Owen Gleiberman. “Mr. Reynolds isn’t wrong for the job; the movie is,” ruled the New York Times.

Several experts agreed that Reynolds should use his superpowers in comedy, a genre he conveniently tackles next in The Change-Up, due Aug. 5. “Though he’s not able to harness the emerald energy of willpower to save Green Lantern from destruction, he’s also not at fault for the disaster,” said Slate. “He’s so good-looking that no one realizes how funny he is. Used in the right roles, Ryan Reynolds could develop into a comic actor with the timing of a Paul Rudd and the body of a… slightly hunkier Paul Rudd.”

Rudd is a good comparison, as is Vince Vaughn, who was once a star in the tolerable Jurassic Park follow-up The Lost World. All three actors worked tirelessly in supporting roles in a variety of genres before Hollywood finally recognized the obvious and built comedies around them. I don’t think Green Lantern ruins Reynolds’ hope for action-hero stardom — HELLO! IT STILL MADE $53 MILLION! — but if its cool reception gives him pause and causes him to retreat to another romantic-comedy, the universe would definitely be a funnier place.

What about you, PopWatchers? Does Green Lantern impact your anticipation for Ryan Reynolds’ next film? Does it help you clarify the types of films you’d pay to see Reynolds in?

Read more:
‘The Change-Up’ red-band trailer
A new generation suits up
Ryan Reynolds Q&A about ‘Buried’

Comments (82 total) Add your comment
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  • Dan

    Okay well you’re already wrong calling this his breakout moment, he’s already a superstar…The Proposal wasn’t his moment either, he was well-liked and successful long before.

    • Lauren

      The Proposal was definitely his breakout moment. As for “well liked and successful long before”… Excuse me?

      • Joe

        Yea sorry Dan, but The Proposal was most def his breakout moment. The only movie of his before that i can even think of was Just Friends and that was hardly a huge success.

      • curroneus

        Proposal was not his breakout moment. 90% of his fan base remember him years before – probably gaining most notice as Van Wilder 10 years ago. Just cause now middleaged women recognize him from a sub-par Sandra Bullock film, that doesn’t mean that was his break out moment.

      • Terry

        Waiting, Definitely Maybe, Blade: Trinity, The Amityville Horror… Just to name a few.

    • Dan

      Anyone I ever speak to only remembers the Proposal as Sandras movie, he was no middle-packer beforehand. Not to mention he was married to ScarJo.

      • therealeverton

        Can’t say I’ve had that experience at all.

    • LOL

      I’m sure he’s fine in his frat boy comedies and romantic comedies, where his bland, girlish features appeal to young girls. But when it comes to action movies, we want real men, like Vin Diesel and The Rock.

      • Eric

        lol@The Rock or Vin Diesel playing Hal Jordan.

      • Piers

        Vin Diesel is a mugly other and the rock has the personality of … well … a rock. Ryan is a leading man. The other two … not.

      • giovanealex

        Girlish?!? There is nothing girlish in Ryan – he is definitely manly and virile. The difference is that he is not a caveman, like the other two you pointed out.

      • jacksquat

        Trufax: Ryan Reynolds acts circles around Vin Diesel and The Rock. Or Dwayne Johnson. Or Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Whatever he goes by these days. I thought he was pretty decent in Buried, despite the crazy plot holes in the movie. (And no, not talking about the hole he was bured in, natch.)

    • SallyinChicago

      Just watching the trailers and promos, I knew this was wrong for him. But hey — it pays for his million $$ condo in NYC. He’s better fit for comedy. If he wants to be taken serious, he should try dramedy. Maybe even hookup with Woody Allen. He is good looking, but he shouldn’t a comic book hero.

  • therealeverton

    He’s already a star, he’s ben one for years.

    Deadpool will do much better than Lantern.

    Most importantly Lantern is a poor film that has been savaged by critics and he still opened it to $53m. I think he’s doing just fine.

    • Andy

      I am looking forward to Deadpool. I think the problem with Ryan Reynolds right now is that he seems to be in every movie coming out. I am half expecting him to pop up in the next Harry Potter. I think if he were to reduce himself to only one or two movie a year he would have a better career. He doesn’t want to be the male equivalent of Katherine Heigl, spewing forth 4 or 5 of essentially the exact same movie per year until you finally flame out because your “fans” catch on. Ryan Reynolds can be better than that.

      • anonymous

        Ryan only did one movie in 2010 and that was the indie movie “Buried” I would like to know what else he has been in? If I were him, I would leave “Deadpool” too. This rabid Comic fanbase is so not worth it.

      • therealeverton

        Deadpool is another cance to do a fun, adult (R rated) action film with humour and to build on a solid fan base. Not sure why you think they’re rabid? There will also be much sterner looks at quality before production, as witnessed bin X-Men: First Class

    • orville

      So is Deadpool still a go? I’d think that it might be in jeopardy with the lukewarm response to this movie.

  • Mandy

    While I think Ryan Reynolds was already a huge star and this film was neither make or break for him, I never felt like this was a good fit and really have no intention of seeing it. In fact, him being in it was the only reason I was willing to consider it. And I even like movies based on comic books…
    Reynolds is great at comedy and I have seen and loved some of his indie drama roles. He has a great future with many more great movies in any genre he really wants..

  • ST

    I can see why “The Green Lantern” was considered to be the movie that really launched his career. Though he’s been acting for years, it wasn’t until “The Proposal” that critics and people really took notice. He was part of the draw for The Proposal but really, it was Sandra’s movie. I love Ryan Reynolds (and still plan to see The Green Lantern) but I think overall, he would have been better suited for “The Flash” (as far as super hero movies go). The Flash was sarcastic and quick witted and kind of known for that. Reynolds would have been absolutely perfect for the role and completely believable as a fast talking superhero that’s always in a hurry. I do think the Ryan Reynold’s business is still booming, and I’m really looking forward to “The Change-up” later this summer. Also, I think he could carry an action-adventure movie franchise (in the vein of Indiana Jones) because of both the sarcastic humor and because he would likely rock at actual action scenes, not just CGI scenes where he has to invent stuff out of thin air.

    • hoganbcmj

      YES! I have been saying all along that Reynolds is much more The Flash than he is Green Lantern. It was the wrong casting from the start. Hal Jordan is not a fast-talking, sarcastic, lean young whipper snapper. That’s who Wally West is. He’d even do better as Barry Allen, IMHO. Green Lantern was miscast. Reynolds should have been Flash all along.

      • therealeverton

        Maybe they should just have kept the Common John Stewart Lantern they cast for the Justice league a few years ago.

        Still don’t fret, maybe this will give Reynolds a chance to catch up to Chris Evans in their “who can play the most Super Heroes” contest. Hanibal in Blade, Deadpool in Wolverine & Deadpool, Green Lantern (Even Paper MAn even if that was imaginary) Maybe now he’ll be The Flash too.

      • anonymous

        I saw the movie and Hal was not fast talking or sarcastic. Did you see it. I enjoyed it very much.

  • sockigal

    It’s not really Ryan’s fault if audiences are bored beyond belief with super hero movies! Ryan will be fine. He is a really talented actor and comedian. Please Hollywood, Take a break from super hero movies for awhile!

    • Hollywood


    • therealeverton

      How are they bored beyond belief with super hero movies? One of the worst reviewed films for ages opened to $53m dollars? It’s a bout a Super Hero most people knew nothing about? Thor is going to have made $470m or thereabouts and again it was a virtually unknown character and an unknown leading man. X-Men: First class is about to pass $300m and it has an entirely new cast, none of whom are movie stars and doesn’t have the most popular characters in. Captain America is also tracking extremely well. Sorry but the massive FIVE super hero movies out of over 150 films coming out this year, hasn’t bothered people yet.
      You had FOUR WEDDING themed films in the top 10 a few weeks ago, FOUR! and you people reckon 5 Super hero movies in 12 months is a big deal. How many ROmcoms? How Many thrillers? I didn’t know there was a cap.

      • anonymous

        Ryan did well. $53 million and bad reviews, had he been unknown, it really would have flopped. Thor and Cap. America is tied to The Avengers. X-Men has 3 other movies ahead of it. Green Lantern has been introduced. I think they need to improve the story and let Ryan and Blake have a 2nd shot.

      • therealeverton

        I can’t see Lantern earning anywhere near enough money for a sequel. It needs about $500m worldwide to break even, if you allow for TV money and sales it may scrape by with $350 – $400m, but I can’t see sales being that strong and I’m not seeing a lot of evidence that it can get to $250m global, let alone $350m – $400m. Question is will WB take a bath and go sequel anyway, or cut their loses, Superman Returns style (that was better recieved than this and will have made more money too) and kill this off for a reboot after Justice League. Being tied to The Avengers didn’t help Thor tht much at all, if people didn’t like it they wouldn’t have gone bck, or given it good word of mouth. It certainly didn’t help Incredible Hulk, although that film succeeded in its aims.

    • Super Hero Movie Junkie

      Oh, go see a rom com. Superhero movies are the closest thing we have left to episodic drama these days. I think Green Lantern was ridiculously overcriticized, and I’m stoked for The Avengers.

    • Wade Wilson

      It’s not superhero movies the public is tired of, it’s BAD superhero movies. The first goal in making a superhero movie is making a good movie.

  • Radiodread

    The problem is the unrealistic expectations put on actors to “carry” franchises and bring in money. The determination of any actor’s worth should always be whether or not they play their role well (in other words, whether or not they are actually good at their job).
    By that measure, Ryan Reynolds certainly deserves to be a star. He’s charismatic, he is always interesting on-screen, and (so far) he has done an admirable job of choosing roles that suit him. (Granted, as Green Lantern shows, not all his movies have been hits, but Ryan Reynolds has never been the problem).
    Didn’t see Green Lantern (bad reviews kept me away– saw Super 8 instead), but will admit to a man-crush on RR, harking back to his cameo in the original Harold & Kumar, as well as [what I consider his breakout] role as Hannibal King in Blade 3.

    • Di

      Thank you! Seriously, it’s like Blade 3 never happened to some people. Talk about delicious in looks, comedy and butt-kicking.

      • anonymous

        They seem to overlook this movie. This is where he was first noticed with that fine body. He won over men and women alike chained to that floor WOW!! and he went head to head with Triple H. don’t say he is not Hero material

  • rkar726

    Another example of journalism attempting to make a story over something that isn’t. Ryan Reynolds will be just fine, I’m not too worried about the guy’s career.

    • Nathan

      I’m sure he’ll be around making average to poor movies for many many years to come.

      • anonymous

        Look at this way. He will be making millions with his average movies!!

  • Michael

    sockigal I totally agree with you

    Radiodread your a fool if that why you didn’t see GL

    • Radiodread

      I’m a fool… why?
      Because I spent my hard-earned cash on an extremely well-reviewed movie that was enjoyed by everyone I know who saw it, instead of hoping that all the bad reviews were wrong and Green Lantern really was a good movie? (Which, it turns out, from what I’ve gathered isn’t the case at all).
      If it means I’m a fool for spending my money wisely, then I’m happy to be one!

      • Lou

        Check the review of GL in Forbes, Reel Estate. I think that the creation of a negative or positive buzz Is becoming the norm. People tend to adhere to it. It is anti-democratic and unethical. They are already talking about oscars for Meryl Streep (OK, she is always deserving..) and to DiCaprio for Great Gatsby, which is still at the pre-production stage!

      • Super Hero Movie Junkie

        It is foolish. These days critics circle like sharks when they smell blood in the water, and bad buzz spreads like ebola. Green Lantern was enjoyable, if not perfect. It certainly wasn’t horrible. And I actually liked it better than X Men: First Class, which critics loved. Whatever.

  • Clarissa

    None of the actors who were rumored to be attached to Green Lantern were right for the role. I feel like it’ll just be a bump in the road for him and he’ll go on to star in other blockbusters.

  • Shay

    He has been in a couple of action movies: Blade 3, Wolverine

    • Nathan

      Based on those two combined with Green Lantern, I think it might be time for Reynolds to try something else, obviously he can’t pick a good action script to save his life. There was also one called Foolproof a few years back, also terrible.

      • therealeverton

        Except he was very good in both of those films, singled out as such even, hence him keeping the Deadpool role and them completely ignoring what happened to his character in Wolverine too) Also he was very good in Smoking Aces.

      • anonymous

        Foolproof was not a super hero movie and Ryan was all of 2o yrs old it was filmed in Canada.

  • Trey

    You’re right. He’s finished. His career is over. Kaput. DOA.

  • sam

    Ryan Reynolds is a competent actor with some fans. I think that his best work is in comedy and he is not an action star. But one of the biggest problems here is trying to make an OK, kind of popular actor a “superstar.” People do not become superstars because you say it often enough. It takes more than that, and I doubt that Ryan Reynolds has it.

    • anonymous

      Thank God you are not casting. The guy has got 2 movies, and 2 animation roles comming up and I hope he does not do “Deadpool” Too late he already has reached that stage.

    • Lou

      Watch the Hugo Boss ad. High-voltage sex appeal. More than just ‘charmant’.

  • mick

    There is nothing wrong with Ryan in GL, it’s the movie that lacked substance.

  • mick

    Trey, he is every woman’s imaginary lover. Ry is far from over, sweetie!

  • alan of montreal

    too many superhero movies released too closely together, that’s the problem

    • real fan


    • Super Hero Movie Junkie

      Exactly. One of them was bound to get the brunt of the backlash, even if it was merely a weaker movie than it’s predecessor, Thor.

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