Google ‘Internship’ Set to Flop in Vaughn-Wilson Reunion

June 7 (Bloomberg) -- The Google movie, "The Internship" hits theaters this weekend. Jon Erlichman got an exclusive behind the scenes look at the filming. (Source: Bloomberg)

News Corp.’s new comedy “The Internship” features Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, a cameo by Google Inc.’s Sergey Brin and access to the search leader’s Silicon Valley campus. It won’t be enough to turn a profit.

The project, from News Corp.’s Twentieth Century Fox, reunites Vaughn and Wilson, whose “Wedding Crashers” opened with $33.9 million in 2005 on its way to $209 million in U.S. and Canadian theaters. This weekend, the duo may generate $15.6 million for fourth place, based on BoxOffice.com estimates.

“Eight years ago, Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson were crashing weddings,” SNL Kagan analysts Wade Holden and Sarah Barry James said in a report. “Now it looks like they may just be crashing.”

The new film follows two washed-up watch salesmen who land coveted internships at Google (GOOG), only to find they’re ill-prepared to compete for permanent jobs against younger candidates.

With a production budget of about $58 million, the movie is forecast to generate $45 million during its run in U.S. cinemas, according to BoxOffice.com -- a sum that is split with theater owners.

Based on the stars’ past movies, “The Internship” is unlikely to turn a profit, according to SNL Kagan, which measures revenue from theaters, DVDs, and the first round of pay-TV and broadcast showings against production costs and marketing outlays.

Photographer: Phil Bray/Twentieth Century Fox via Bloomberg

Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn as salesmen whose careers have been torpedoed by the digital world in "The Internship." The comedy is written by Vince Vaughn and Jared Stern. Close

Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn as salesmen whose careers have been torpedoed by the... Read More

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Photographer: Phil Bray/Twentieth Century Fox via Bloomberg

Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn as salesmen whose careers have been torpedoed by the digital world in "The Internship." The comedy is written by Vince Vaughn and Jared Stern.

Of the 78 reviews compiled on the Rottentomatoes.com website, 51 were negative.

“Who let an unfunny, irritatingly acted two-hour commercial for Google onto multiplex screens?” New York Daily News critic Joe Neumaier wrote.

Both Benefit

Fox, which co-produced and distributed “The Internship,” declined to comment, a spokesman said.

Google’s involvement in “The Internship” offered benefits to both sides. The Mountain View, California-based company’s role probably helped get the movie into production, said J.C. Spink, an executive producer of “The Hangover” movies who isn’t involved in this film.

“Relationships between brands and movies can make a difference,” Spink said in an interview. “In a rough market, it’s another way to put movies together.”

While most of the movie was shot at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, access to Google’s headquarters, employees and culture lent authenticity to the film.

“The Internship” highlights everything from Google’s search engine to phones made by its Motorola Mobility unit. Brin, the company’s co-founder and a director, is seen riding a cycling contraption early in the movie. Later, he delivers a short line to Vaughn and Wilson.

Photographer: Phil Bray/Twentieth Century Fox via Bloomberg

Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn and cast in "The Internship." The film is directed by Shawn Levy. Close

Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn and cast in "The Internship." The film is directed by Shawn Levy.

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Photographer: Phil Bray/Twentieth Century Fox via Bloomberg

Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn and cast in "The Internship." The film is directed by Shawn Levy.

‘Marketing Problem’

Google CEO Larry Page said last month at the company’s developer conference that the movie would be a great vehicle to showcase computer engineers.

“We decided it would be good to get involved,” Page said. “Computer science has a marketing problem.”

With video streaming soaring on Netflix Inc. (NFLX), Hulu LLC and Amazon.com Inc., Google has been working to improve a relationship with Hollywood that has been strained because studios want the company to do more to stop piracy.

In May, Google started paid channels on YouTube, adding to earlier efforts to that have put money in the pockets of studios and filmmakers, such as online movie sales and rentals. For Hollywood, Google is becoming a more-important distribution outlet for online and mobile sales of films and TV shows.

“There seems to be movement toward better relations,” said Bill Mechanic, former chairman of Fox Filmed Entertainment and present Chief Executive Officer of Pandemonium Films. “There are more conversations because there are enough services that are doing business. Everybody’s looking at how do you get a piece of that.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Brian Womack in San Francisco at bwomack1@bloomberg.net; Michael White in Los Angeles at mwhite8@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net; Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net

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