No. 74 is No. 1.
In reference to today’s column on the audience word-of-mouth buzz about “The Blind Side” (linked here), based on the life of current Baltimore Ravens left tackle Michael Oher and the Tuohy family of Memphis, the latest numbers from those who measure box office attendance is that this movie jumped past “Twilight: New Moon” into the top spot on the charts.
BoxOfficeMojo.com reported today that “The Blind Side,” in its third week of distribution, had $20.4 million in weekend gross at 3,326 theatres, pushing it past the No. 1 movie for the last two weeks, “New Moon,” which had momentum from its large opening weekend and finally dropped off to $15.4 million (in 4,124 theatres).
In talking about the flick to executive producer Molly Smith, we were amused to find out that the Sandra Bullock portrayal of Leigh Anne Tuohy was even more toned down than the way she is in real life.
“You can’t write a character like that,” said Smith of Tuohy. “That’s her. That’s even a somewhat subdued version. She’s just a woman who everyone’s business is her business, and she cares in the most honest and brutal way. It’s to neat to see her relationship with Michael. It touches so many people in such a simple way.”
Smith said producer and writer John Lee Hancock “spent a long time with the family, and he really captured (Leigh Anne). It was an interesting experience. It’s not as if we’re telling a story that’s 10 years ago. It’s a story that keeps writing itself better by the minute. Having known the family growing up, I was very protective of the way it came out and wanted to make sure Michael was proud of it. We just wanted to show how someone like Michael can inspire other people, as a humble, genuine person.”
In an interview last Sunday with Bob Costas before NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” game, Oher said he doesn’t think the movie will make him any kind of special celebrity.
“I really don’t see it that way,” he said. “When I’m going to get something to eat, people don’t recognize me. I feel like a regular person.”
A regular 6-foot-4, 307-pounder, played in the movie by the 6-foot-8, 380-pound Quinton Aaron, who is actually three years older than the 21-year-old Oher. And it must be told: Boston Celtics forward Glen “Big Baby” Davis actually auditioned for the role.
One other interesting fact about the flick: None of the coaches who played themselves in the movie recruing Oher back in 2004 and ’05 — Nick Saban, Houston Nutt, Tommy Tubberville, Phillip Fulmer, Ed Orgeron and Lou Holtz — are at the same school any longer. Saban moved from LSU to the Miami Dolphins and now at Alabama; Nutt was fired from Arkansas and ended up coaching Oher in his senior season at Mississippi, Tubberville was fired from Auburn and Fulmer was canned from Tennessee, and Holtz left South Carolina to join ESPN. Orgeron, the former USC assistant, only lasted three years at Ole Miss, landing Oher almost by default because of the fact the Tuohys attended the school.
Also, if you wonder about situations like the Tuohys adopting a minority kid from the projects, Sports Illustrated points out in a recent story about Oher that Tennessee Titans Pro Bowl linebacker Keith Bulluck, Dallas defensive end Marcus Dixon and Philadelphia rookie wide receiver Jeremy Maclin also were in similar situations when white families took them in.
And while we’re on the subject of learning new things (weren’t we?): One of the cool scenes of the movie is when Michael’s dad, Sean (played by Tim McGraw) helps him figure out an essay to do for his literature class. Sean starts reciting the lines of the Alfred Lord Tennyson poem, “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” equating it to why LSU has named its stadium “Death Valley” and equating it to a game they were playing against Ole Miss.
Works for us.