Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wedding Rings Do Not Always Equal Box Office Success

Recently having had a conversation about the chemistry of real-life celebrity couples who choose to take on joint showbiz ventures, post exchanging wedding rings, and the success of the outcome, I decided to take a look at some of the most famous collaborating couples and their box-office hits or misses. Whether the outcome is actually due to a couple’s chemistry, the quality of the project, or just their general likability as individuals, one thing is clear; when it’s good, it’s good. But when it is bad, it is so very bad.

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez
Perhaps the most famously bad onscreen duo of all time, this couple tried their luck on screen twice before they ended their off screen romance for good. Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez were famous for so many things by the time they split in 2004; unfortunately box office success was not one of them. The precursor to Brangelina, this couple was the first to be branded with a Portmanteaux, or a blending of names by the media, and instantly became known as” Bennifer.” The couple garnered even more attention when Lopez began sporting the 6 carat, Radiant cut, pink diamond engagement ring, Affleck had presented her with in 2002. Finally the couple was famous for being paired in a pretty famous little movie called “Gigli,” which famously failed with audiences. The movie earned $6 million at the box office but cost $54 million to make, and is known as one of the lowest grossing movies of all time.

All the fame did not spell success for their private lives either, as both have recently blamed the media attention for the demise of their relationship. Recently, Affleck has been quoted as saying, “I was no longer in control of my life. I thought I wanted certain things, but I didn't. I got lost. I felt suffocated, miserable and gross. I should never have gone down that route or got sucked in to all the publicity.”

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnez
Although they met on the big screen, this couple became a household name when they appeared together on the small one. In 1940 Lucille Ball and Desi Arnez met while filming the movie, “Too Many Girls,” and eloped soon after. But it wasn’t until 1950 that Ball demanded her real-life husband play her opposite in the television sitcom, “I Love Lucy.” The couple’s genuine chemistry made the pair a wildly successful comedy team, despite their contentious off screen relationship over the years. The two later divorced in 1960, and in an interview post-divorce, Ball opened up about her relationship with Arnez, telling reporters “Desi was the great love of my life. I will miss him until the day I die. But I don't regret divorcing him. I just couldn't take it anymore." The two were married for 20 year, and have forever been cemented in Hollywood history as one of America’s favorite couples, both on and off screen.

Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman
Through the late ‘90s these two were Hollywood royalty and a red carpet favorite, but they couldn’t quite seem to get their popularity to transfer to the big screen. Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman met while filming “Days of Thunder” in 1990 and exchanged wedding rings a year later. In 1992 the couple tested their chemistry again in the movie “Far and Away,” and came away with mixed reviews from both critics and audiences. It would be seven years before the couple would come together on the big screen again, this time in Stanley Kubrick’s “Eyes Wide Shut.” The star vehicle, already highly anticipated by critics, turned out to be the director’s last movie before he died in 1999. Its release that following July was again met with mixed reviews; many critics slamming the production quality, and audiences misinterpreting the plot. The couple’s already straining relationship was scrutinized even more with rumors floating about the movie’s scandalous scenes adding to their stress. The stars eventually parted ways in 2001, after 10 years of marriage, but have nothing but nice things to say about each other. Kidman expressed her love for Cruise in People magazine after the divorce, but claims to have always had premonitions of the end when she told the magazine, "I always knew the rug was going to be taken out from underneath me at some stage. I didn't think it was going to happen in the way it happened.” So the once red hot couple never had a hit together, but neither were they subjected to “Gigli” like ridicule.

Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell
This couple is one of America’s most beloved Hollywood couples, despite their non-traditional status. Gold Hawn and Kurt Russell first met on the set of “Swing Shift” in 1982, but the two didn’t hook up until a year later. Although the two have never married, they remain committed to each other to this days. There one and only attempt at cinematic collaboration in that time has been the well-received, now classic romantic comedy, “Overboard.” While the film did not open to great reviews, it has become a favorite with audiences over the years, as have the costars. Over the years the pair have had a son, Wyatt, and built a life together. And while their lack of work together has marked them as refreshing and non-pretentious by the public, the couple has said that they are planning on bringing their time-tested chemistry to the screen again in the near future.

So we’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugliest of outcomes when celebrity power couples want to work together, but the only conclusion to be drawn is that there is no rhyme or reason to the success of such ventures. Some simply are hot, and some are not.

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