Written by Sarah

You know I hate putting a lot of stock in The Numbers, because The Numbers can mean anything and nothing. But in the case of the George Clooney vehicle The American there’s a case for The Numbers, mostly because they were achieved with little apparent effort.

Labor Day weekend at the box office was slow, but The American pulled a respectable $16.4 million over the three day weekend, bringing its six-day total to $19.5 million (estimated). For a movie made for only $20 million and with virtually no marketing behind it, that’s kind of incredible. As Lainey noted, there was no real push for this film. No premiere, little press, and a half-assed media campaign – that’s it. The marketing presence was so slight that when I did see a TV spot, I actually exclaimed out loud, “Hey, that’s a commercial for The American.”

Was it because George didn’t want to advertise? Maybe, but he’s a pretty willing press participant and everyone in the media generally loves him, so it’s not like it’s a grind for him. Did Ely’s Italian Mess have something to do with it? Also a maybe, but Ely’s Italian Mess hasn’t been a huge story over here, and George’s entire strategy for keeping her head above water seems to be that boring white dress she wore to the Emmys. Did the movie suck? No. Reviews weren’t through the roof but they weren’t bad. Or was it because George Clooney doesn’t have to hustle?

I think it’s the last one. As much as Lainey says everyone has to hustle these days, and I generally agree, I think we’ve found the one exception. George Clooney doesn’t have to hustle. He exerted no effort for The American and it won the Labor Day box office over the much more hyped Machete. The American’s numbers look even better when you consider that $20 million budget. And maybe that’s why the marketing was so thin. Save all that money on media. One trailer, one TV spot, a few internet banners and print ads, and one huge, worldwide-star name. Think of all the money Focus Features pocketed by not spending another $20 million on advertising.

So why doesn’t George have to hustle when even Leonardo DiCaprio takes to the twitter to pimp his project? Because George makes everyone happy. And by everyone, I mean everyone. Have you ever heard someone say they don’t like George Clooney? No, of course you haven’t. Sportswriter Bill Simmons once compared “feeling like Clooney” to the state of perfect sportsfandom. That’s how much everyone likes George Clooney—his name can represent a state of mind for happiness and contentment (maybe even a little smuggery).

My friend AT thinks that Brad Pitt is the ultimate people-pleaser since women want to be with him and men want to be him, but he has a divisive divorce in his past. There are Aniston loyalists who can’t and won’t like Pitt anymore, and while men may want to *be* Brad Pitt, how many actually want to hang out with him? Because every guy I know wants to buy George Clooney a beer. It’s like he’s accomplished some mysterious male feat I cannot fathom and has won the loyalty and respect of men the world over.

The American
does not look especially entertaining to me. But I am compelled to see it. Why? Because it’s George Clooney!

Written by Sarah
Photos from Flynetonline.com