Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:13 PM ET
He’s everywhere! No, we’re not talking about Psy and his "Gangnam Style," but the near-constant media presence of Tom Hanks.
Of late, the genial actor has participated in the presidential debate on "Saturday Night Live," shared a "Full House" slam poem on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon," typed a personal (and witty) letter agreeing to appear on Nerdist’s podcast, AND paraded a troop of his own movie-themed Halloween costumes on "The Colbert Report" -- with a little help from former "Saving Private Ryan" co-star Matt Damon.
What was the reason for the actor’s sudden barrage of media appearances? Oh, that’s right, Hanks' ambitious time-travelling flick "Cloud Atlas" -- an adaptation of David Mitchell’s 2004 novel -- opened Friday.
The film, which links six plots over the course of multiple centuries, has received a lot of mixed reviews for it’s complicated storyline. The New York Times said, "watching ['Cloud Atlas'] is a bit like doing a series of math problems in your head," while Roger Ebert admitted, after watching the movie twice, "I no longer believe repeated viewings will solve anything."
Which brings us back to Hanks, who has been using his funny and likeable personality to entice fans to see his serious and complex film. But will it work?
"I don’t think it’s going to have a huge impact," Phil Contrino, vice president/chief analyst of Boxoffice.com, told NBC News. "It doesn’t hurt for him to be out there making headlines. Every time somebody writes 'Tom Hanks did something funny on Jimmy Fallon,' at the end of that article is 'he's got 'Cloud Atlas' opening.' So that doesn’t hurt, but it’s not going to turn the movie around."
According to Boxoffice.com, "Atlas" is only expected to pull in $12 million on its opening weekend (a long way away from its $100 million budget).
So what is it that puts people in the seats? Contrino said it's a matter of popular appeal.
"This is inherently a cult movie, people reacted well to the trailer; it just wasn’t enough people," he said. "It appeals to hard-core film buffs who don’t mind seeing a 2-hour, 50-minute movie multiple times to pick it apart. Your average moviegoer isn’t going to want to see this."
Now that the movie's in theaters, the actor can take a break from his media blitz and get back to working on television poetry. Maybe a "Saved by the Bell" piece? Whichever way the box office numbers go, no one can argue Hanks didn't do his promotional duty.
So tell us, do you notice when a star makes a push for a new movie? Will you see "Cloud Atlas"? Take our attached vote, and weigh in on Facebook.
Lauren Schutte is a Los Angeles-based writer.