Musical Nine is this year’s box office turkey

Penelope Cruz in Nine

Daniel Day-Lewis and girl dream team stuffed by bad reviews and word-of-mouth

BY Sophie Taylor LAST UPDATED AT 11:49 ON Mon 4 Jan 2010

So, James Cameron does it again - taking Avatar through the $1bn box office barrier in record time, as The First Post's business columnist Edward Helmore reports today.

And Cameron's not the only one with a Christmas hit to celebrate: Guy Ritchie, who made his name a decade ago with Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels - before spoiling everything by marrying Madonna - came second in the US box office chart with his new Sherlock Holmes film, starring Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law as Holmes and Watson.

But this year's Christmas's turkey is undeniably Nine. Despite a star-studded cast that includes Daniel Day-Lewis and a supposed female dream team - Penelope Cruz (pictured above in the film), Nicole Kidman, Kate Hudson, Sophia Loren and Marion Cotillard - the film has stalled at the box office, grossing just $9.8 million in the US during its first fortnight. Compare that with $117m for Sherlock Holmes.

The fact that Avatar had only one recognisable name in Sigourney Weaver, while Nine featured three recent Oscar winners - Day-Lewis (best actor for There Will Be Blood), Cotillard (best actress for La Vie en Rose) and Cruz (best supporting actress for Vicky Cristina Barcelona) - will not be lost on Hollywood executives.

To be fair, most critics blamed director Rob Marshall rather than any of the actors. The Los Angeles Times critic Charles McNulty wrote: "If a Hollywood genie ever offers to cast your movie musical with an international assortment of Oscar winners, tell him to get lost."

Neither Cruz showing a lot of leg, nor Kidman as a heavenly muse, nor Cotillard putting in a powerful performance as Day-Lewis's put-upon wife, could do anything to stop the poor reviews being followed by dreadful word-of-mouth from early cinema-goers. · 

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