I’m trying to get a gauge on Channing Tatum. This past weekend, his movie The Vow, almost snuck in first for a second week in a row, I should probably note that it not only snuck in first last week but it officially took out Denzel and Ryan Reynolds film Safe House last week. I personally think it’s a big deal when Channing “I was basically discovered for saying “I forgot my Dew”’ Tatum starts to loom in conversation with the larger figures in Hollywood.
Sure, Tatum’s movie also had Rachel McAdams as a fellow lead and The Vow is seemingly a hybrid of Dear John (Starring Tatum) and The Notebook (starring McAdams), but why do I feel like this was Tatum’s movie?
Is this guy a star? Is he the one who is brings people into the seats or is it the content of the film? I feel that Tatum should have been bigger at this point and Dear John should have done for him what The Notebook did for Ryan Gosling… or did it? As it stands now Tatum is seemingly on that fine line of where his career is going to go. I think it’s either going to skyrocket from this point or it’s always going to stand in this grey yet consistent not really a lead area.
Below is a look back at his previous films starting with Coach Carter in 05’ – I think looking at these films will shed light on where Tatum is going:
Coach Carter: Ensemble guy cast with Sam Jackson.
Supercross: Action dirt bike movie… still early in the career.
War Of The Worlds: Honestly Tatum was in this movie for about 3 seconds running from Aliens… but who cares – it’s Spielberg.
Havoc: Indie vibe with this film.
A Guide To Recognizing your Saints: Tatum’s breakout in the opinion of a lot of people. He was good.
She’s The Man: Typical rom com with Tatum attempting to be a heart throb.
Step Up: The introduction into Tatum the dancer. If women weren’t sold on his looks they were sold on the fact he could dance like a stripper… oh wait…
Battle in Seattle: What is this movie?
Step Up 2: Early cameo from Tatum reprising his role from the first Step Up.
Stop-loss: Same writer director as the academy award film “Boys Don’t Cry” – it also has a good cast but failed box office wise.
Fighting: Shirtless Tatum. People love this movie… seriously.
Public Enemies: Minor - minor - minor 10 second role in this film. Michael Mann directs it.
GI Joe: His real and only blockbuster. This film was all effects and nothing else… a feel good summer movie that in my opinion is so bad you end up watching it.
Dear John: Every woman in the world loved Tatum more than before. This is dramatic Tatum.
The Dilemma: Directed by Ron Howard starring Vince Vaughn and Kevin James. This film was a terrible flop but Tatum had a supporting role and it’s in no way his fault. His comedy wasn’t to bad.
The Son of No One: Another no idea what this movie is but it has Al Pacino in it. Who could ever blame someone for doing a Pacino film?
Ten Year: No idea what this movie was but he was a producer. It didn’t do too well and was directed by the Dear John writer.
Haywire: Steven Soderbergh directed, didn’t do too well in the box office but who the fuck cares because Soderbergh directed.
The Vow: Most recent.
The movies listed above show no evidence that Tatum is a viable go to box office guy; however what it does show is that he’s an extremely smart guy when it comes to his career for 3 major reasons:
1: He works with great directors in small roles. In War of the Worlds he basically was a featured extra but who cares it was Spielberg. In Public Enemies he was basically covered in enough make up to be a cross dresser but who cares it was Michael Mann. In The Dilemma his role was partially substantial but even better it was a Ron Howard movie. In Haywire it was an ensemble cast but that’s par for the course when dealing with Soderbergh… and it was Soderbergh!
Why does this make him a smart guy? Well it ties into…
2: He works with the same writers and directors: The Son of No One, Fighting, and A Guide to Recognizing your Saints: Same writer director. Step Up and Step Up 2: Same writer and he did a cameo in part 2. He’s doing Magic Mike, which is a Soderbergh film coming out later this year… you get the point.
Here’s why this is important – Because apparently directors really like him and will work with him again. It says a lot when someone is willing to take on smaller roles. If this were basketball he’d be called a “grinder” - the guy who really works for the points. It’s like when you go to the “networking” party trying to meet everyone and you’re uncomfortable with a drink in your hand. But in Tatum’s case he says, “fuck a drink, I’m just going to be in this movie.” Or something like that. 3: He’s trying to sculpt his resume and cover all angles of his career. Is he lover romantic guy, comedy guy, fighting guy, action guy, brooding masculine guy, dancer guy? Apparently he’s a little bit of each. I can’t remember when someone hasn’t been horrible when they tried to be the spaghetti sauce and spread themselves over genres like this.
You have to wonder if he’s going to be able to successfully pull this off, because if he will then I think you’d have to consider him a movie star at some point, right? The tough reality is: unless your name is Clooney, then box office usually determines if you’re a movie star. But Tatum seems to be floating in this middle ground where he’s (usually) in “well made” movies made by “good” people, so who cares what the box office says.
Truthfully, I’ve never been the biggest fan of Tatum but I’m starting to come around. I’m looking forward to the comedy 21 Jump Street and heard he’s great in it, and also looking forward to the new Soderbergh film.
In my quest to determine if this guy is a movie star I think the conclusion is – not yet… but he will be. He’s worked with too many people and has covered too many genres to not get a significant shot at being huge