In the late 1970s, Reggie Jackson was called "Mr. October," for his ability to produce home runs in baseball's playoff season, no matter how mediocre his regular season was. In 2011, Brad Pitt could be Hollywood's "Mr. October." His newest film, Moneyball, opened to pretty good box office last weekend, and even better reviews. Sure, Moneyball is a true story about baseball, in particular the Oakland A's. But it's truly about being undervalued, and that's a universal theme that could resonate with millions of moviegoers.
"It's a story about our values: how we value other people, what we value as success, what we value as failure," Pitt told a media gathering at the Toronto International Film Festival. BW was there for some face time with Pitt and his co-stars Jonah Hill and Phillip Seymour Hoffman.
"I couldn't let go of the story about these guys who, by necessity, were trapped in an unfair game," Pitt told BW when we asked him about the underdog theme.
Moneyball, which cost only $50 million to produce (in spite of its cast), topped $20 million at the box office last weekend (coming in second place to Lion King 3D), but it is nicely positioned to build on strong word-of-mouth through October. Even better news for the flick is that, according to Entertainment Weekly, Moneyball is drawing a crowd evenly split between men and women.
"It's pretty complicated material," said Pitt. "Not your conventional story with a conventional character arc."
FYI, the film played to what was described as "a huge crowd" last Saturday at LA's Samuel Goldwyn Theater, where the audience applauded at the conclusion. It happened to be a members-only screening from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (yes, those are the Oscar folks).