Christmas Movies: An AARP Showdown ~ Midler vs Streisand

Mister D: My friend, Ron, predicted the media would make this Christmas A Midler/Streisand showdown a few months ago….Can’t they both win?

The Hollywood Reporter
Silver-Haired Christmas Day Showdown: Streisand vs. Crystal, Midler
8/22/2012 by Pamela McClintock

It’s been a decade since Billy Crystal, 64, appeared in a lead role in a major studio film — Analyze That in 2002. Bette Midler, 66, has made only indies of late (The Women, Then She Found Me). On Christmas Day, both are back in a major way in 20th Century Fox‘s all-audience comedy Parental Guidance as grandparents who are at odds with their daughter, played by Marisa Tomei, over their different parenting styles when left to baby-sit. Keenly aware of the growing power of the silver-haired moviegoer, Fox and producer Peter Chernin were happy to fashion the film around them as leads (Crystal co-write the script) versus relegating them to supporting roles.

“In my mind, this is the first comedy, at least in a long time, that shows grandparents as active, funny, involved, vital characters central to modern family life,” says one person close to the project. Given that Parental Guidance — directed by Andy Fickman — is a multigenerational family film, Fox has high hopes that it also will pull in parents and kids.

But Parental Guidance isn’t the only Christmas Day film counting on the graying demo power: On Dec. 25, Paramount opens The Guilt Trip, starring Barbra Streisand, 70. The comedy, directed by Anne Fletcher, marks Streisand’s first lead role since 1996’s The Mirror Has Two Faces (she had a supporting role in the Meet the Parents franchise). Similar to Parental Guidance, Guilt Trip pokes fun at the cultural differences between the generations as a mother goes on a road trip with her adult son, played by Seth Rogen, who brings his own audience to the table. “Every parent can relate to the idea of going on a road trip with your child who is no longer a child,” says an executive on the film.

Is it possible that this much elderly goodness is more than the holiday market will bear and that audiences will have to choose over Crystal/Midler and Streisand? Probably not. But Hollywood has an unfortunate tendency to find something that works…and beat in into the ground. Hopefully, come holidays 2013, they won’t have killed the gray goose with the golden eggs.

The print version of the article incorrectly stated that Parental Guidance was opening on Thanksgiving.

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8 thoughts on “Christmas Movies: An AARP Showdown ~ Midler vs Streisand

  1. Hmmm…..well, I plan to see both also…….but, Parental Guidance first. The Guilt Trip has already been screened (it appears that it screened very early this year), with a very enthusiastic response.


    Recap from the article seems to indicate that the Guilt Trip will not relate well to people under age 30, which I thought to the contrary, with Seth Rogen and Colin Hanks appearing in it. The reviewer raves about La Diva Babs’ performance, which is already referred to as “award worthy”. Yes, the battle begins.

    As mentioned in an earlier article about box-office take, Rotten Tomatoes has the Guilt Trip at a 90% interest level in seeing, with Parental Guidance at 75%. About twice as many people voted to see The Guilt Trip than Parental Guidance.

    I’m hoping good critical buzz, along with a wider demographic will tilt the interest level toward Parental Guidance, by the time we hit Christmas.

    Parental Guidance is a 20th Century Fox Film (Warner Bros. overseas), and The Guilt Trip is being distributed by Paramount Pictures, which could give both of these films a similar number of screens to play on, come holiday.

    In all honesty, the premise for both of these films look very good. What a coincidence! The real battle may be between Bette and Barbra at the Golden Globes! Is it too early to say that a Billy and Bette hosting of next year’s Oscar telecast would be most welcome?!!

  2. I think anyone who has kids/grandparents/in-laws, etc., will be able to relate better to Parental Guidance than to a nagging mother on a road trip. Plus, the team of Bette and Billy together on-screen for the first time could lead to a Burns and Allen/Tracy and Hepburn type comparison. I’m rooting for Bette, too, and I think she’ll do better overseas, as well. Now I’m wondering if a Bette and Barbra movie is possible? If both movies do well, I could see the pairing…

  3. 1. Rotten Tomatoes, I believe, is mostley read by young people, so Streisand is ahead on this point;

    2. Comparing Tracy and Hepburn to Midler and Cristal is crazy. This is their only project together, we don’t even know if they have chemistry together;

    3. I think it’s easier to have The Divine One and Cristal as Oscar hosts than having Barbra and Bette in the same project. Not that they don’t like each other, it’s just that I don’t see both of them pulling strings to work together. Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn and Miss M really tried to make The First Wives Club 2 and it never took off.

    4. I would LOVE a project, especially musical, with Bette and Dolly Parton. Their voices together sounded divine on Bette! the series.

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