Oh, Jake fans. You grow up so fast!
I can't shield you from the world forever. And I know you talk amongst yourselves and already know all of this. But I kinda have to tell you anyway.
It's Friday today, which means our good pal Dastan has run out of sand and is almost assuredly no longer at your local theater.
Yes, yes, I know it's the "top grossing movie based on a video game of all time," meaning that in 2010, with ticket prices higher than ever, Prince of Persia made more globally (though not domestically) than Laura Croft: Tomb Raider did nine years ago...
But, erm, the extent to which that matters right now is not so much. We're trying really hard to make Prince of Persia look good, Jake fans. We're spinning the numbers, we're stockpiling good reviews, we're reassuring ourselves that the movie did well enough overseas to counteract the poor U.S. box office gross (and trying to convince ourselves that that U.S. gross really isn't that bad).
But who are we really trying to convince here?
Alright, it didn't Gigli-level bomb. But it certainly wasn't a Day After Tomorrow-level hit either. Hell, it wasn't a You Don't Mess With the Zohan-level hit. Box Office Mojo's all time domestic box office chart doesn't even extend far enough for Prince of Persia to be on the list.
True, it did better overseas. But not as great as, say, Alvin the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel. It's been two months and Prince of Persia is gone. Out of here. Disappearing from theaters and the public's consciousness. Jerry Bruckheimer has already moved on to his next underperforming movie, that is how over Prince of Persia is.
As fans, we like to see the good in things because we want Jake to succeed. But I don't think any of us truly believes this was a success on the level anybody was hoping for. And I realize that movies fizzle on a weekly basis, but this type of thing has never happened to Jake. Not like this. He's been in his fair share of low-grossing films, but he's never headlined a major blockbuster before and he's certainly never headlined a major blockbuster and then had it not reach blockbuster status.
Prince of Persia was a pretty damn big deal in terms of The Career of Jake Gyllenhaal.
It also did not definitively signify one way or the other which way that career goes from here.
As much as we like to joke, underneath all that Jake Gyllenhaal-ness there's a real guy out there who just saw two years of his life rush by in eight short weeks. We aren't talking about sequels right now, we're talking about Disney's profit margins relying on DVD sales.
So before we, like him, move on to waiting for next film, I wanted to take a moment here to say that I, personally, wish the movie had done better. I don't want to sugar-coat it, I don't want rationalize it, I just want to say: I wish it had done better.
And I'm guessing I'm not the only one here who feels that way.
Are we good now? Fantastic. Countdown to Love and Other Drugs starts now!
"Family Time" from my mom's Family Circle. "Critics" page from my Newsweek.