Friday, March 11, 2011

The Flicks Flashblack- Aaron Eckhart

Today, Columbia Pictures releases “Battle: Los Angeles,” an action film that focuses on an alien invasion. The star of the movie is actor Aaron Eckhart who is best known for his role as Two-Face in Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight.” Although while “Knight” is what really made Eckhart a pop culture icon, he’s always been around the fringes of the Hollywood A-list. 

Here’s your “Flicks Flashback” featuring Aaron Eckhart.

Erin Brockovich (2000)
Total USA Earnings:  $125 million

While “Erin Brockovich” wasn’t Eckhart’s first role, it was probably the one that really put him on the radar with mainstream America. Playing the role of George, Erin’s biker boy-friend, Eckhart took on a strong but important supporting character. Through that part, awareness of this versatile actor began to pick up and more A-level roles began to find their way to him.

The Core (2003)
Total USA Earnings:  $31 million

As is the case with all actors, sometimes an increased number of roles don’t always lead to an increased number of hits. 2003’s end of the world action film “The Core,” on paper looked like a good idea. It had Hilary Swank, Stanley Tucci and Bruce Greenwood on board and a premise that was (at the time) very profitable for Hollywood. Although the critics quickly turned on it and then so did audiences. Despite a respectable (again, at the time) $12 million third place opening, the movie quickly half-lifed its way down the charts and out of theaters. It just wasn’t one of higher quality movies of its genre.

Thank You For Smoking (2005)
Total USA Earnings: $24 million

Following the implosion of “The Core,” Eckhart went back to his independent roots. He starred in “Thank You For Smoking,” a satirical look at the tobacco industry and their lobbyist spin doctors.  The feature-length directorial debut of Jason Reitman (son of “Ghostbusters” director Ivan) was a critical hit and began finding its way into contention for a number of awards. Eckhart himself was nominated for both an Independent Spirit Award and a Golden Globe.  The movie also turned a small profit as it only cost $6.5 million to make.

No Reservations (2007)
Total USA Earnings: $43 million

After the critical success of “Smoking,” Eckhart returned to the mainstream in “The Black Dahlia” which despite a strong pedigree among its cast and crew stumbled out of the starting gate. Although Eckhart quickly got back in the game, with “No Reservations,” a romantic comedy opposite Catherine Zeta-Jones. Released during the height of the summer movie season, the film was a welcomed relief to people tired of the big budget action films that traditionally dominate the season. Again, it was only a mild hit domestically, but it also managed to match that total in the international market.

The Dark Knight (2009)
Total USA Earnings $533 million

Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” dominated from week one and this Oscar winning film would go on to top $1 billion worldwide. Eckhart starred as Harvey Dent, the alter ego of Batman’s eventual nemesis Two-Face.  It was a defining moment in the actor’s career and one that he will always be associated with his filmography.

Eckhart followed that role with a turn as Jennifer Aniston’s love interest in “Love Happens” and then Nicole Kidman’s husband in “Rabbit Hole.” While nothing happened with “Love,” “Rabbit Hole” put him back in contention for awards season. While it was his co-star who eventually received the Oscar nomination, it was the still talked about success of “Knight” that made him a strong contender in what proved to be a tight race.

That brings us to the present and “Battle: Los Angeles.” Eckhart once again is set to take a leading role and looks to be in prime position to take the box office by storm.