The last time Gerard Butler took a co-lead in a romantic comedy, I predicted that it wold “mint money”. Then Warner Brothers went and marketed P.S. I Love You with very little confidence (even though it effectively flooded the tear ducts of every woman I know), causing the film to stall out at $52 million domestic. It’ll find its audience on DVD. But what of Butler’s seemingly imminent leap to leading man status?
He’ll get a few more opportunities to demonstrate his box office drawing power over the next year with Nim’s Island, Guy Richie’s Rocknrolla (described as an “ensemble” piece) and Neveldine-Taylor’s Game. But if he falls short with those, it won’t matter what kind of business Robert Luketic’s The Ugly Truth does. Pitched as a “battle of the sexes” romp, Butler will play a meth-addicted morning show reporter who locks horns with his producer (Katherine Heigl) over the hiring of a black weatherman. Sorry, I read that wrong. Make that a sexist morning show reporter who subjects his producer (Heigl) to “a series of outrageous tests to prove his theories on relationships and help her find love.”
I’m sure Butler will turn on the rakish charm for Luketic (who will do everything to mishandle the screenplay by Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith), but this sounds like a Heigl vehicle. And since her latest romantic comedy, 27 Dresses, is currently on pace to gross somewhere in the $75 million range domestically, she’ll get most of the credit if The Ugly Truth hits. And Butler will just be “that guy from 300“.
Lakeshore Entertainment is producing, while Sony Pictures will distribute. Shooting is scheduled to commence in April.