Ashton Tops U.S. Box Office With “The Guardian,” “Open Season”

Ashton Kutcher’s latest two films, Open Season and The Guardian, open at No. 1 & 2 respectively at the U.S. box-office for the weekend of Sept. 29 to Oct. 1, marking the first time in recent Hollywood history that an actor headlined the top two movies on the same week.

Open Season, a CGI-animated comedy where Kutcher provides the voice of a wily mule deer, tops the charts with a sensational $23.6-million, while The Guardian, an action-thriller about heroic rescue swimmers, grosses $18-million.

It’s an auspicious time for Kutcher as the two movies cater to different demographics and belong to opposite genres, highlighting the actor’s wide appeal and versatility.

In The Guardian, Kutcher plays a former swimming champion whose strength as a swimmer is exceeded only by the power of his youthful confidence. The actor was instantly compelled by the script and saw that it offered an unusual opportunity. “I was definitely looking to do something that was a total departure from what I’ve done before, and this is definitely that,” he says. “I was also looking for the chance to work with Kevin Costner, an actor who I look up to and who I could learn from. And this film not only offered many opportunities for me to learn and stretch myself, that’s also what it’s about – one generation learning from the one just ahead.”

Co-star Kevin Costner enjoyed the opportunity to watch Kutcher bring his character full circle – from tough kid to heroic man — with his own unique touches. “Ashton has an ability to sense the dramatic opportunities that aren’t necessarily on the page, seize them and translate them into dramatic moments on film, thereby making the picture jump a level,” Costner admires.

Kutcher also was inspired to dig deeper behind the exploits of the Rescue Swimmers. “The guys in the Coast Guard are the kind of heroes who don’t talk about themselves,” notes the actor. “And I hold very high regard for those kinds of people.”

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Meanwhile, for “Open Season” Kutcher imbued his animal character with unique touches. “I came into the project with a definite character in mind — a small deer who would be a balance against this big grizzly bear that Martin Lawrence plays,” recalls the actor. “I arrived with a bouncing-off-the-walls energy, like some kid who’s had too much sugar. I basically just turned my censor button off.”

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Distributed by Buena Vista International through Columbia Pictures, The Guardian opens across the Philippines on Oct. 11, to be followed by Open Season on Oct. 25.

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