Jim Sturgess is currently on screens alongside Katie Holmes in Alone Together, a film taking place during the early days of COVID-19. But that isn’t his only star-studded project to hit the screens as of late, and if it ends up being profitable, it will be far from his first.
Sturgess made his breakthrough in 2007 with Across the Universe, and for the few years following that he was a lead in several major studio movies. But the actor has always thrived in smaller projects, even if they don’t cross $1 billion at the box office.
10 The Best Offer (2013) — $20.9 Million
The Best Offer is an Italian film, but it’s in the English language, hence the inclusion of Geoffrey Rush, Donald Sutherland, and Sturgess. Rush is the highlight of the film, but Sturgess gets his chance to shine in a villainous role as Robert, a thief posing as an artisan.
The Best Offer carried a budget of $18 million, which is fairly standard for a film of its size when there’s a stacked cast. Unfortunately, the film barely made that back worldwide, the vast majority of which came from international markets according to Box Office Mojo.
9 Upside Down (2012) — $22.2 Million
While not quite one of Kirsten Dunst’s best movies, Upside Down is a lovely and moving science fiction film. While not quite Stranger Things’ Upside Down, the film still does tell the tale of what amounts to a parallel universe (in the case of Upside Down, parallel worlds). But instead of monsters, there’s forbidden love, which is arguably just as scary.
Upside Down came with a substantial price tag of $50 million, yet it didn’t even score half of that at the worldwide box office. According to Box Office Mojo, the film barely crossed $22 million, most of which came from international venues.
8 The Way Back (2010) — $24.2 Million
Before he was unrecognizably playing Penguin in The Batman, Colin Farrell was dirt-covered alongside major stars such as Sturgess, Ed Harris, and Saoirse Ronan in The Way Back. Sturgess portrays Janusz Wieszczek, a Polish army officer held prisoner by the Soviets; With the help of a Russian criminal (Farrell), an American engineer (Harris), and several others from across the globe, Wieszczek must now traverse the deadly Himilayas. The Way Back is the type of film that makes the viewer feel for the actors, not unlike The Revenant.
Box Office Mojo reports that the film had a fairly substantial budget (given the limited potential profitability) of $30 million. Unfortunately, it didn’t even make that sum back much less make a profit.
7 Across The Universe (2007) — $29.6 Million
As inspired by the title song as it is the Beatles’ catalog at large, Across the Universe is a gorgeous journey through time, space, life, and love. It stands as one of the most visually alluring films of the aughts and is substantially bolstered by typically sterling work from Evan Rachel Wood, a star-making performance from Sturgess, and palpable chemistry between the two.
On the surface, Across the Universe was a bomb, considering it made less than $30 million (per Box Office Mojo) on a budget of just over $70 million. But at the very least, it’s the evergreen type of film (the Beatles will always be relevant) that finds its extremely devoted fans over the course of time.
6 One Day (2011) — $59.4 Million
One Day is the story of friends becoming more but over a much longer period of time than the average romantic comedy or drama. Sturgess and Anne Hathaway share the screen for much of the movie and they work well enough off of one another to support the runtime.
According to Box Office Mojo, One Day played on a fairly substantial 1,719 screens in the U.S., which doesn’t technically qualify as a wide release but is just a hair away from being one. Considering that and the involvement of Hathaway (who has managed to stay a consistent ticket seller), it’s an admirable performance in a niche market.
5 The Other Boleyn Girl (2008) — $78.2 Million
While it’s far from being one of Natalie Portman’s highest-grossing movies, The Other Boleyn Girl is one of Sturgess’. With that being said, it could have done better at the box office, especially given the talent involved, most of whom were born for period pieces.
Yet, on a Box Office Mojo-reported budget of $35 million, The Last Boleyn Girl only cleared $78 million. Not a flop for Sony Pictures Entertainment, but not a hit either, and despite the superstar cast it hasn’t distinguished itself as a highlight on any actor’s resume.
4 Cloud Atlas (2012) — $130.5 Million
Cloud Atlas was one of several major, big-budget, massively-scoped projects the Wachowskis formulated in the wake of The Matrix trilogy’s success. Unfortunately, it (and the remainder, including The Matrix Resurrections) were complete flops at the box office, in spite of A-list talent leading the endeavor.
Sources on Cloud Atlas’ budget vary wildly, from $100 million to about $150 million. There’s good reason to believe it skews the latter, but even if it had been kept at just $100 million the Wachowskis’ film would have been a flop with $130 million worldwide, per Box Office Mojo.
3 Legend Of The Guardians: The Owls Of Ga’Hoole (2010) — $140.1 Million
Sturgess has starred in several films with staggering marks in the visual department, but arguably none were bigger than Zack Snyder’s Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole.
Snyder’s film, in spite of its incredible visuals, cost a mere $80 million. Unfortunately, it didn’t become the event his films are typically geared to be, and it only netted $140 million worldwide, per Box Office Mojo.
2 21 (2008) — $159.8 Million
21 was a major lead role for Sturgess, and he brought a mixture of charm and an everyman nature to the character, which was the de facto necessary combo for part of a talented collegiate gambler in over his head.
Some mid-budget studio projects go on to become sizable hits, and the $35 million 21 is one of them. The film’s success can be at least partially attributed to the following Sturgess gained with Across the Universe, but it was also just a fun time at the movies. All in all, the film quadrupled its budget and then some to the tune of nearly $160 million worldwide according to Box Office Mojo.
1 Geostorm (2017) — $221.6 Million
Roland Emmerich’s Geostorm may be Sturgess’ highest grosser, but 21 is his biggest hit. Geostorm was a mega-budgeted apocalypse film that did little with its price tag that hasn’t been done 100 times before. Sturgess’ role is fairly thankless as well, considering he plays the brother of Gerard Butler’s protagonist. He’s a role meant to provide tension and resolution for the character audiences are truly supposed to care about.
Emmerich’s film, like most of his filmography, came with a hefty cost ($120 million per Box Office Mojo). Unfortunately for Geostorm, Emmerich’s brand of filmmaking had petered out after The Day After Tomorrow, and it opened to $13.7 million in the United States. When all was said and done, the film only cleared $33.7 million from domestic screens, but it did do well for itself overseas with $187.9 million. Even still, its worldwide figure isn’t enough to make it another major hit under the belts of either Butler or Sturgess.
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