What happened
George Clooney’s latest movie Leatherheads came in second at the box office over the weekend, but brought in just $13.5 million. “We’re all disappointed,” said Nikki Rocco, president of distribution at Universal Pictures, which released the film. (Reuters)

What the commentators said
“Hollywood was aghast” that Leatherheads didn’t have a strong opening, said Nikki Finke’s Deadline Hollywood Daily, because industry big shots viewed it “as a referendum on Clooney’s popularity at the box office.” Clooney may still be “a big movie star,” but he’s no longer “a big box office star.” And “in this case, he only has himself to blame for the lackluster financial performance of this latest film.” After all, he directed and starred in it, and “did a major overhaul of the script.”

Leatherheads’ poor “performance is only the latest setback for Clooney,” said the BBC News. He “claims he rewrote much of Duncan Brantley and Rick Reilly’s original script,” and so he tried “to be credited” as the film’s screenwriter but “was rejected by the Writers Guild of America.” Apparently, Clooney is so upset by that decision that he “has downgraded his union membership in protest.”

There may be other reasons why Leatherheads didn’t do so well, said Bill Hutchinson in NYDailyNews.com. The majority of the target audience for it was at least 40 or older, and that demographic tends to wait until after opening weekend to see a film. On top of that, “Hollywood honchos were left to wonder about the wisdom of releasing a football movie during college basketball’s Final Four semifinals and the first week of baseball season.”