Chris Rock finally answered the big one.
Since making his film debut in the 1985 film Krush Groove, the albatross around Chris Rock’s neck has always been his ability to achieve the same level of success in film as he has in television and stand-up comedy. Rock is one of the biggest drawing comedians on the planet; one of the few that routinely sells out 20,000- and 30,000-seat arenas worldwide.
While Rock would score a handful of memorable on-screen roles in movies such as New Jack City, Dogma, Lethal Weapon 4, and voice over roles in animated films such as the Madagascar series, Rock has long been seen as unable translate the mastery he displays on stage with a microphone in the form of a motion picture. His first two efforts at writing and directing, Head of State and I Think I Love My Wife, proved to be critical disappointments as well as box office duds. To some, it appeared that the box office success many have hoped for for Rock for decades wasn’t meant to be.
Sometimes, all someone needs is a little time to get it right.
Rock’s latest effort, Top Five, opened in theaters this weekend, and it looks to have finally shaken the monkey off of Rock’s back.
Top Five looks to be nearing the $8 million mark for its opening weekend according to Box Office Mojo. That’s an impressive achievement for a film that only showed in limited release and on less than 1,000 screens. Top Five not only looks poised to potentially break even, presuming decent successive weekend numbers and solid Blu-Ray and streaming media sales, but has proven to finally be the critical breakthrough that fans of Rock’s have long awaited.
According to Variety, after committing to a $20 million promotions and advertising budget, Paramount is on the hook for upwards of $32.5 million. That’s not much in comparison to Hollywood blockbusters such as Exodus: Gods and Kings, which reportedly enjoyed a robust $140 million budget and is all but assured to prove a massive loss, but it is certainly enough to make a struggling studio like Paramount concerned about the gamble on a commodity in Rock that had yet to prove his box office mettle.
With Rock’s recent criticisms in the news about African Americans’ place in the Hollywood system, Rock could ill afford to have released a third Hollywood stinker. Top Five, Rock’s first film to find such footing, not only proves that the comedian’s humor can translate from stage to screen, but also all but assured that his fans will be afforded the opportunity to see the brash stand-up prove that Top Five was no fluke, but rather, that Chris Rock the filmmaker may be here to stay this time.