With Zac Efron's latest film, the romance 'Charlie St. Cloud,' now an official box office disaster, everyone is asking what happened to the 'High School Musical' golden goose. The answer, two words: Robert Pattinson.
"Robert is the new King of all the screaming girls at this moment and they have forgotten Zac. You only need to look at this years MTV Movie Awards, when Zac entered the girls were excited but when Robert walked in the place went nuts," relationship expert Matt Titus tells me. "Twilight has changed everything and Robert Pattison gets it. He says nothing, and acts mysteriously. This is what teenage girls really want right now." (Kat: Teenage girls? Why do they always focus on the teenage girls?)
However, it seems that Zac has received that memo too. Switching from his more playful roles to ones that focus on his character rather than his pretty-boy looks have come at a huge box office cost.
"Hollywood only cares about making money," one producer tells me. "We honestly don't care if Zac is singing 'Hello Dolly' or playing a vampire, as long as he sells tickets. That fact that 'Charlie St. Cloud' dropped a whopping 60% in its second week following a very mediocre opening tells me Zac should speak less, smile more and take off as much clothing as possible. Or else he will end up like countless other pinup popcorn actors and actresses that decided that they all of a sudden wanted to be taken seriously when all their fans."
According to Box Office Mojo, 'Charlie' has raked in a mere $23 million since opening July 30. It's budget: $44 mil.
Joe Neumaier, film critic for the New York Daily News, thinks Patz isn't Zac's biggest problem, telling me, "I blame an overcrowded pin-up boy field. Yes, Rob Pattinson is in that jam-packed yearbook but so is Taylor Lautner, some 'Gossip Girl' boys, Shia LaBeouf, the 'Glee' guys and at least one Jonas brother. All these young dudes are now starting to cancel each other out. I think at this point, there's only so many dewy-eyed sulking guys girls can keep track of." (Kat: They'll never cancel you out Rob... never!)
PopEater's own Celebenomics columnist, Jo Piazza, agrees. "Efron is in an oversaturated market for adorably coiffed young gentlemen of a certain age with nothing to differentiate him. He isn't as edgy as Robert Pattinson, as heartthrobby as Chace Crawford or as cutesy as Bieber. (Kat: Did this lady just put Rob in the same category as Bieber? Really?) His claim to fame, 'High School Musical' was too quickly eclipsed by 'Glee.' There is no demand out there right now for a product that is specifically Efron."
So is Zac career really over at a tender 22-years of age? Please say this isn't true!!!
"I don't think Zac Efron has a career problem. I just think that he made a movie that didn't connect with an audience. This film didn't have mass appeal and was a departure from Efron's normal roles. His audience didn't follow. He needs to choose his next role wisely, but he absolutely still has a career," Tina Wells, Author of tween book series Mackenzie Blue & CEO, Buzz Marketing Group told me.
So, let's hope Zac is listening because it sounds like it's time to dust of those tap shoes, break out the Jazz hands and start warming up those vocal chords. Stop trying to be Robert Pattinson and start being yourself again.
"Zac needs to stick with his strengths," Paul Dergarabedian, President of Box-office Division of Hollywood.com says. "Singing, dancing and comedy." And leave the depressing stuff to Mr. Pattinson. (Kat: Because he broods really well... at least I like it!)