Images from The Biggest Loser are routinely jarring (and none more so than the sight of Shay, the 30-year-old woman who began this season at 476 pounds, the show’s largest contestant ever). But fans have certainly received an extra jolt over the last two weeks from Lionsgate, which opted to run trailers for Precious during the weight-loss show. Though all movie spots are edited so they can be viewed by everyone, young Loser fans were probably shocked (and more than a little frightened) to go from Alan and Rebecca racing to fill plastic cylinders with pennies to a movie trailer featuring Mo’Nique screaming “don’t nobody want you” and swinging a frying pan at her morbidly obese daughter. With its R rating and horrific tale of neglect and abuse in the inner city, does Precious really have a place during The Biggest Loser?
Lionsgate wouldn’t respond to requests for comment, but it’s easy to guess what the studio’s marketing experts were going after by buying time in NBC’s third most popular show: those who seek out the aspirational stories on Loser will (with any luck) want to see what happens to Gabourey Sidibe’s Precious as she attempts to claw her way out of her living hell. As Owen Gleiberman says in his EW review, “sometimes a movie has to take you down — and I mean down, really far — to lift you up” (kind of what Jillian does during those brutal, last chance workouts, right?). Though there may have been the occasional Loser viewer who replied “WTF?” after seeing those dark and dreary ads, Lionsgate’s decision obviously paid off: during its opening weekend on only 18 screens, Precious grossed $1.8 million for a per-screen average of $100,000—the largest per-screen average ever for a movie opening in more than 10 theaters. The movie will go wider this weekend.
So what do you think, Loser fans? Does Precious have a place alongside the Biggest Loser weigh-ins? Were you shocked to see the ads?