Meryl Streep can’t do much wrong in our book. Her newest film, Hope Springs, opened this past weekend on over 2,000 screens. A film that cost $30 million to make has now made over $20 million since its release. And it has garnered rave reviews for both Streep and Tommy Lee Jones.
As moviegoers, we naturally assume summer to be the season of the explosive, superhero laden blockbuster. But surprisingly enough, summer has proven to be Meryl Streep’s season. Starting with The Devil Wears Prada Streep has proven to be a summer box office draw.
When The Devil Wears Prada was released on June 30, 2006, it grossed over $27 million dollars on its opening weekend, ranking at #2 at the box office. It made $326,551,094 million dollars worldwide—not bad for a film with a budget of $35 million. And it also got two Oscar nominations, one for Streep’s Anna Wintour-esque, Miranda Priestly.
Released on July 18, 2008, Streep starred in Mamma Mia, a movie adaptation of the popular Abba musical. It had similar opening numbers to The Devil Wears Prada, making over $27 million on its opening weekend and ranking at #2 in the box office. However, Mamma Mia was not a critical hit in the way The Devil Wears Prada was and it didn’t get the greatest of reviews. But it made significantly more worldwide than the latter did with $609,841,637 million dollars.
And on August 7, 2009, Streep played one of her most iconic roles to date, Julia Child. The late, great Nora Ephron’s final film, Julie and Julia, made $20 million during its opening weekend, again ranking in at #2 in the box office. Julie and Julia was a critical darling, even earning Streep her 16th Oscar nomination. It ended up making $129 million worldwide.
Meryl Streep's career is an example of how only looking at opening weekend numbers is so nearsighted. Her movies don't open at number 1, but they have legs. While there is only one Meryl Streep it is still helpful to keep the thought in mind that not everyone is desperate to see a movie on opening weekend.