This is a huge win for Scarlett Johansson. Coming off her Black Widow roles in the Marvel universe and her acclaimed art house triumph in Under the Skin, this should be her first $100m domestic hit outside of the Marvel universe while trouncing her biggest non-Marvel opening (He’s Just Not That Into You, an ensemble film, with a $27m debut and $93m final gross). In the still somewhat small category of female-centric action films, this debut falls behind the Hunger Games films, the $54m debut of Divergent, the $50m debuts of Wanted and Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and the $47m debut of the first Tomb Raider film. It’s ahead of the $35m debut of Salt. As you can see, there is a lot of Angelina Jolie in that list, which means Johansson’s Lucy filled a very specific hole in the marketplace.
The film’s marketing highlights a wholly different movie, selling a sci-fi heavy character drama about a young woman unwillingly given a drug that basically unlocks her brain and transforms her into a higher form of human as a “Watch Scarlett Johansson use super powers to kick righteous butt!” action picture. What action the film contains is mostly revealed in the trailer, so the fact that the film received a C+ from Cinemascore is actually surprising to me. Considering how different the movie is from the marketing, I was half-expecting an F. Universal’s campaign for Lucy, full of lies as it may be, is an undisputed triumph.
Well there are a lot of lies in the movie like scientists have already disputed the fact that the human brain uses way more than 10% of its capacity. But what truth was omitted was the fact that the real “Lucy” – the first human, for which the movie is named, was found in Ethiopia in Africa, ironically by a man with a similar last name as Scarlett, Donald Johanson and his partner.
Oh well. Johansson and her fiance Romain Dauriac are expecting their first child together.