That was my reaction to Friday’s announcement from Universal about kicking The Bourne Legacy back a week in order to get out of the wake of The Dark Knight Rises, which opens only three weeks before Bourne’s original August 3 release date. Pushing back a week gives Bourne a little bit more breathing room, though they’re still banking on Dark Knight breaking by week four, which, when it comes to the monster blockbusters, is no guarantee. Here’s Universal’s announcement, which somehow got turned into, “Bourne backs off Total Recall”, as if Universal gives a sh*t about a Jessica Biel movie. That headline twist baffled me as the press release makes no mention of Total Recall, but very plainly states, “We’re scared sh*tless of Batman and don’t want to get flattened in his wake.” Why was the fact that this is a totally honest press release not a bigger deal? It’s a big deal! They actually told the truth!
Even though it means admitting fear, though, this is a good move for Universal. Bourne is their precious egg at the point, their last major release until Les Miserables in December. They’re nurturing it carefully—babying it, even, and have been all year—so the move is not so surprising, given that Dark Knight is tracking to make around a billion dollars, which means it’s definitely going to crush its second weekend, most likely its third (Bourne’s original release date), and will probably pull big dollars on its fourth. Universal has put up an aggressive slate for their centenary to not so good results, though Snow White and the Huntsman is going to make them some money. They’re hoping to build on that bit of steam with Bourne and so far, they’ve managed their campaign well.
Building off The Hollywood Reporter’s profile of Jeremy Renner, now it’s Empire Magazine featuring the new face of the franchise (with much better lighting than THR demonstrated—the key to craggy faces is to shadow, not highlight). Empire comes from the UK; Renner is getting the international push. This must be the worst part of the whole gig for an actor - the waiting, waiting to see if it all pans out, if you live up to expectations, if this is the time when it all comes together. Renner’s been acting for the better part of twenty years. He pinged on a lot of industry radars ten years ago, but I’m not sure he’s really felt this pressure before. Not even with The Hurt Locker, which was a true dark horse in 2009. Ever since breaking out, Renner’s stuck to supporting, character roles. He’s never had to carry.
I wonder sometimes what they think during this time, with hundreds of millions riding on their shoulders and the future of their career in the balance. They’ll tell you they don’t think about it, that they’re on to the next thing already. I know—I’ve had it said to my face. But I’ve also been there on Friday afternoon, waiting for the projections, and on Saturday morning, for the actuals. They think about it. They’re not so moved on. If anyone could give us an honest glimpse into this moment, it’s Jeremy Renner. Please someone. Ask him. How are you not losing your mind right now? What are you doing for stress relief? I’m pretty sure the answers would be entertaining.