You'd think it would be easy for Zo?Ĺ Salda??a by now. After all, she was in two of the 21st century's most successful films. She was CGI'd to death (literally) in "Avatar," shot into interstellar space in the "Star Trek" reboot, and shot at by ill-tempered strangers in many different countries in "The Losers." After years of unchallenging "pretty girl" parts, that should be enough.
Instead, Zo?Ĺ's newest movie found itself fighting some lousy and undeserved pre-publicity and the worst storm of the year, but "Colombiana" still struggled its way into theaters this last weekend. It didn't make it to number one: the surprising mega-hit "The Help" hung on to that spot. But it did better than any other new release or any other hangers-on, generating a respectable $11.5 million in a moderate number of theaters‘«Űmany of them empty or shut down on opening weekend because of Hurricane Irene.
So the question is: does this young woman have the star power to "open a movie" ‘«Ű to get people into the theater just because she's the star? The answer seems to be a qualified but very firm 'yes.'
Consider these facts:
You couldn't have picked a worst weekend to open. Late August is where bad movies go to die, and attendance is habitually low.
The studio, for reasons still not clear, didn't allow reviewers to see "Colombiana" before opening day. That's usually a sign of a bad, bad movie (e.g., "Conan")‘«™but in this case the reviews, though mixed, have been far from horrible. So what was that about?
A made-for-the-occasion pro-Colombia (the country) pressure group decided to launch an anti-Colombiana (the movie) campaign even before they (or anyone) had seen the picture, based ‘«Ű as they admitted ‘«Ű on nothing more than the title and the theatrical trailer. Combine that with the lack of buzz because of the no-preview decision, and you're trudging uphill already.