Roberts vs. Roberts – Two very different cinematic paths taken by sibling actors
Sibling rivalry is rarely as publicly manifested as it will in this weekend’s box office horse race as Julia Roberts and her big brother Eric Roberts go head to head in a familial box office smackdown. Eric joins the testosterone-laden ensemble cast of Lionsgate’s decidedly dude-friendly “The Expendables,” while Julia stars in pretty much every frame of Sony’s “Eat Pray Love,” a film that instantly appears if you look up “chick flick” in the dictionary.
Julia of course is one of the biggest stars in the world and has cultivated an iconic image of the beautiful woman with the million dollar smile, perfect hair and a winning personality. From humble beginnings as a guest star on Michael Mann produced TV shows such as “Crime Story” and “Miami Vice,” she made the transition to feature films in 1988’s “Mystic Pizza” and 1989’s hit film “Steel Magnolias.” However, it would be her third film, 1990’s “Pretty Woman” that would make her a worldwide sensation and allow her to embark on her star-making journey. The fourth highest grossing film of 1990 with $178.4 million (or an inflation-adjusted $332 million) it landed only behind “Home Alone,” “Ghost” and “Dances with Wolves” in that year’s box-office rankings. This was quite an achievement for up and coming actress in only her third movie.
Julia’s brother Eric started out promisingly enough, giving three terrific performances in notable mid-80’s films, one of which he co-starred as the brother of “Expendables” cast member Mickey Rourke. 1984’s “The Pope of Greenwich Village” was a film that showcased Eric’s range and vulnerability on screen and whose character could not have been more different than 1983’s “Star 80” and his scarily intense turn as Paul Snider, the real life boyfriend and eventual murderer of Playboy Playmate Dorothy Stratten. Another amazing performance would complete this acting triumvirate in 1985’s “Runaway Train” which pitted the young actor against screen giant Jon Voight as they played two convicts on the run and on a train; Roberts impressively matched Voight scene for scene. Eric has since that time appeared in dozens of TV shows and movies and has, count ‘em, 195 acting credits to his name!
Now the tale of the box office tape:
Julia has had enormous success for nearly three decades with her 32 big screen films since 1988 generating an incredible $2.3 billion in domestic box office revenue. She even had a very “Tom Cruise-like” run of three successive $100 million plus late 1990’s hits including “Notting Hill,” “Runaway Bride” and “Erin Brockovich.”
Eric has appeared in approximately 26 theatrically released films with total combined box office revenue of about $710 million. However, his appearance as a crime boss in 2008’s mega-hit “
The Dark Knight” accounts for the lion’s share of this revenue with its $533.3 million chart-topping haul.
How ironic would it be if big brother Eric was to beat his cash-generating little sister at the box office this weekend? Regardless of the outcome this is a match-up that is the very definition of sibling rivalry.
Other cool entertainment-related sibling rivalries include: Musicians Liam and Noel Gallagher of Oasis, Ray and Dave Davies of The Kinks and John and Tom Fogerty of CCR.