"Charlie Wilson's War" opened to only $9.6 million, which was in line with what movie studio Universal Pictures expected the adult comedy to make in 2007's holiday movie season that has a lot of new releases for filmgoers to choose.
By comparsion, Tom Hanks' last movie "The Da Vinci Code" grossed $77 million during its opening weekend, which is $2 million more than the entire budget for this new feature, which if "Charlie Wilson's War" continues at this pace will never hope to recoup that cost.
Interestingly, Tom Hanks has had several films open in December, usually around Christmas time and all of them have done better. The Steven Spielberg directed thriller "Catch Me If You Can" opened in December 2002 to $30 million. The lonely survival adventure film "Cast Away" opened on Christmas Day 2000 to $39 million, and the lowest opening film within the past decade for Tom Hanks was 1999's "The Green Mile." That movie, though critically acclaimed, opened with only $18 million.
Sadly, this was still far above this weekend's returns for "Charlie Wilson's War." Both films were well directed, well acted, adult films that starred Tom Hanks and that opened in December. Who knows why the difference? Perhaps, the fact that Hanks' 1999 film was based on and had the clout of Stephen King to support it. Here, the film is based on a more obscure writer but still a best-selling book.
Perhaps Tom Hanks still has to wash off the stench of last year's "The Da Vinci Code," that along with "Toy Story" and "Cast Away" was a $200 million cash cow for Hanks but what was ultimately a disappointment for most people. The role did have Hanks cast as an unlikely hero, certainly unlike any hero roles he has embraced before, and not even as dramatically powerful a role as he's had before.
In terms of critical success, truly well acted performances, The M Report recommends the following titles as Tom Hanks best movies:
Forrest Gump (1994)
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Apollo 13 (1995)
A League of Their Own (1992)