When I became a film critic in 2006 and started following the box office, I knew of Sandra Bullock through the “Speed” and “Miss Congeniality” films, some rom-coms and Best Picture Oscar winner “Crash”. But her career momentum was slowing down a bit. “The Lake House”, Bullock’s ’06 reunion with Keanu Reeves, only earned $52.3 million. And 2007 thriller “Premonition” made just $47.9 million.
Then 2009 happened. Bullock joined Ryan Reynolds and the late Betty White in “The Proposal”, a mega hit for Disney’s adult pictures division Touchstone, with $164 million. She followed it up with FOX comedy “All About Steve” co-starring Bradley Cooper, but that only grossed $33.9 million. The top achievement came that November with Warner Bros. blockbuster “The Blind Side”. It scored a Best Picture Oscar, won Bullock the Best Actress honor and made $256 million. Her career catapulted.
Bullock continued her relationship with WB with a role in 2011’s “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”. Despite making just $31.9 million it was a Best Picture Oscar nominee. This was an important film for Bullock to be a part of… even though she was not the star. When Matt Lauer interviewed her on “The Today Show”, he began the film by telling viewers that Bullock doesn’t dominate screen time.
Lauer: “If they’re going to this movie because they want to see you up on screen for the whole film, this is not that movie.”
Bullock: (nods her head) “Mhmm. True.”
Lauer: “I mean, you’re in there for about 15 minutes.”
Bullock: “It’s actually 24 minutes…”
Lauer: “Okay. Sorry. I miscalculated.”
Bullock: “…throughout the whole film. Strategically placed moments.”
Lauer: “And I bring it up only — first of all you’re great in those 22 minutes…”
Lauer: “Sorry.” (pause for crew laughter) “But also because… 15, the way I’ll calculate it.”
Bullock: “24.” (laughs)
Lauer: “I like the fact that you did this. I think there are a lot of A-list actors who would’ve said, ‘This isn’t a big-enough star turn for me.’ And I admire your choice on that.”
Bullock: “I’ve already had those moments. I think. I mean I’m sure there might be more. I don’t know. But I don’t know how many moments and opportunities like this there will be.”
2013 was Bullock’s sequel to 2009. She starred opposite Melissa McCarthy in FOX action comedy “The Heat” ($159.6 million) and went to space with George Clooney in WB’s “Gravity” ($274 million, seven Oscar wins, a Best Picture nomination and a Best Actress nom for Bullock).
2015 started-out being yet another gigantic year for Bullock, with a lead voice role in Universal and Illumination’s “Despicable Me” prequel “Minions” ($336.1 million). But the year fizzled-out with WB’s disappointing “Our Brand Is Crisis”, which only grossed $7 million domestically.
Bullock returned to the big screen in 2018’s “Ocean’s 8” (also WB), which brought-in $140.3 million. She then transitioned to Netflix later that year for “Bird Box” and returned to the streamer for last year’s “The Unforgivable”.
Now she’s got a duo of films with fellow Academy Award winner Brad Pitt. Paramount’s “The Lost City” (also with Channing Tatum and Daniel Radcliffe) is out Mar. 25. And Sony’s “Bullet Train” is in theaters July 15.
Bullock has been on a trend of… every couple years… making a couple movies released close to each other. So “Bullet Train” may be the last we see of her on screen until 2024 or 2025… or beyond. In a new interview with “CBS Sunday Morning”, Bullock says, “I can be creative, I can be part of a community. But right now, work in front of the camera needs to take a pause.”
When asked by Tracy Smith for how long, here’s Bullock’s response: “I don’t know. I don’t know. Until I don’t feel like I feel now when I’m in front of a camera. I want to be at home. I’m not doing anyone any favors who’s investing in a project if I’m saying, ‘I just want to be at home.’ Because I was always running. I was always running to the next thing. I just want to be present and responsible for one thing.”
Smith’s follow-up, “So you knew shooting this movie this is gonna be the last one for a while.” Bullock’s reply: “Yeah. And I don’t know what a while is. I don’t know what that is.”