Moviegoers headed to the theater to see “The Perfect Guy” might experience deja-vu — an ex-lover or significant stalks their loved one after being brutally rebuffed, cue end scene where evil psycho lover dies a gruesome death. If the plot sounds all too familiar, it’s because it is.
This weekend “The Perfect Guy” joins a long line of thrillers such as more recent releases “No Good Dead,” “The Boy Next Door” and “Obsessed,” but will the movie join the box office hall of fame — or shame?
Screen Gem’s “The Perfect Guy” stars Sanaa Lathan, Michael Ealy, Morris Chestnut and Charles S. Dutton, and is tracking for $15 million its opening weekend and a $34 million cumulative gross. Thought the movie may be anticipated by a particular niche audience, the projected gross will fall behind its latest predecessors.
The film follows Leah Vaughn (Lathan) who after a painful breakup starts a passionate relationship with a stranger. He seems like the perfect guy, who suddenly flips a switch and becomes a dangerous man whom she should fear.
However, this story sounds all too similar, some of which date back to 1991 — even in the past six years, three films similar to that of “The Perfect Guy” have been produced, one from 2009, one from 2014 and one from 2015.
2009’s “Obsessed” starred Ali Larter who starts stalking successful asset manager Derek (Idris Elba), much to the dismay of his wife, played by Beyonce Knowles. While it received terrible reviews (19 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), it actually performed quite well at the box office as the No. 1 movie on its debut weekend. With a budget of $20 million, it made $68.2 million domestically. If “The Perfect Guy” were to gross what it is currently tracking, then “Obsessed” haul will have double its take. Moreover, Larter’s movie opened with $28.6 million, whereas this year’s psycho-boyfriend horror film is expected to make only $15 million.
Five years after “Obsessed” hit theaters, “No Good Deed” starring Elba again alongside Taraji P. Henson and Kate del Castillo arrived on the big screen in September 2014. The film features escaped convict (Elba) stalking and terrorizing a woman (Henson) and her children. This movie made less bank than its predecessor, grossing $52.5 million at the domestic box office based on a budget of $13.2 million. Additionally, it received worse reviews than “Obsessed,” only scoring 10 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
And just one year later, Jennifer Lopez starred in “The Boy Next Door,” which made significantly less than both previous movies but still was a very profitable movie for Blumhouse Productions due to its modest budget. At the domestic box office, the film went on to gross $35.4 million with $11 million of that made on opening weekend in January 2015. Lopez’s character falls for the boy next door (Ryan Guzman), who turns out to be more dangerous than he seems. This one, too, only received a meager 10 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
And looking back even farther, movies like “SwimFan” (2002), “Sleeping with the Enemy” (1991), “Fear” (1996), “The Crush” (1993) and “Prom Night” (2008) also delved into a similar plot line. All of those movies did only mediocre at the box office with the exception of 1991’s “Sleeping with the Enemy” — starring box office queen of that decade Julia Roberts — which pulled in $101 million domestically.
“The Perfect Guy” is expected to make less that most of its predecessors, yet Rotten Tomatoes reports a whopping 91 percent of the audience wants to go see the film.
The pile of dwindling movies all have one thing in common. A significant other turns psychotic, spiraling the life of the stalked person out of control. As the years go on, the storyline gets more and more repetitive as the budgets and grosses dwindle. But could “The Perfect Guy” notch a win for this box office endangered species by exceeding expectations. We’ll find out in 72 hours.
“The Perfect Guy” is now playing nationwide in theaters.