‘Charlie’s Angels’ Casting Fail: Kristen Stewart Overshadows Costars Naomi Scott and Ella Balinska

In the mid-1970s, Charlie’s Angels was inescapable, with posters of Farrah Fawcett-Majors adorning every other wall you looked it. Now that a second reboot of Charlie’s Angels has come out to a giant “meh,” the phrase being said most often is: “Sorry, Charlie.” 

By the time this story goes online, you may not have much of a chance to see Charlie’s Angels in a theater because it bombed. There’s no getting around it. When you make less than $10 million on your opening weekend and your budget is $48 million, you’re going to lose a lot of money. Kristen Stewart was the biggest star in the cast. Could she have been expected to save it?

A short history of ‘Charlie’s Angels’ 

(L-R) Kristen Stewart, Ella Balinska and Naomi Scott attend a photocall
(L-R) Kristen Stewart, Ella Balinska and Naomi Scott | David M. Benett/Dave Benett/WireImage

The original series about three women who worked as private investigators ran on ABC from 1976 to 1981. The original Angels were Fawcett-Majors, Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith.

Despite being criticized for being an excuse for men to leer at the female leads, the concept gained enough cultural cache to spawn reboot movies and a new TV series. 

The 2000 reboot movie starring Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, and Lucy Liu. It did solid business, making $125 million here. The sequel, Full Throttle, did a little less well, making $100 million domestically.

However, the reboot TV series starring Annie Ilonzeh, Minka Kelly and Rachael Taylor flamed out quickly, lasting only for eight episodes, with one of them being unaired. 

Sony, flush with the success of the reboot Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, took a chance on another Charlie’s Angels reboot, with Elizabeth Banks co-starring, co-writing and directing. Now it looks like the franchise has gone cold, despite everyone’s best efforts.

Kristen Stewart couldn’t save ‘Charlie’s Angels’

Stewart was easily the most recognizable name in the cast. Naomi Scott had a hit with the live-action Aladdin playing Princess Jasmine, and her performance was seen as one of the better aspects of that movie. However, she was cast in Charlie’s Angels before that movie was a hit, so for all intents and purposes, she and the third angel, Ella Balinska, were unknowns. 

The Daily Beast wrote: “If Stewart is the scene-stealing star of this movie, her bleached pixie cut comes in close second. Sabina’s cropped quasi-mullet is what Miley Cyrus was trying to do in 2013. It has that unattainable model-off-duty quality where it always looks kind of wet yet somehow not greasy … No, this is no longer a review of Charlie’s Angels; it is an ode to K-Stew’s enigmatic butch hairstyle.”

So in other words, the biggest stars of this movie were Stewart and Stewart’s haircut. Scott and Balinska couldn’t compete.

While Stewart is generally seen as a quality actress, particularly in her choices of independent movies, Charlie’s Angels serves as proof that she can’t open a movie based solely on her name. It seems that no star is able to do that anymore.

Why did the new ‘Charlie’s Angels’ bomb?

When the movie’s disappointing box office results came in, Banks, ever the good sport, tweeted: “Well, if you’re going to have a flop, make sure your name is on it at least 4x.” But why did it flop this badly?

Part of it may be overall franchise fatigue, not just of Charlie’s Angels but the glut of franchises. Terminator: Dark Fate and Doctor Sleep, a sequel to The Shining, despite not altogether bad reviews, also whiffed at the box office despite the supposed nostalgia pull. Charlie’s Angels had outlasted its sell-by date.

Entertainment Weekly wrote: “Stewart was a generational figure for Twilight kids. She spent the rest of this decade minting hipster cred in Europe and Indieland. This new Charlie’s Angels could have been her thrilling reintroduction to the mainstream — but Stewart is the comic relief, her character given less proper plot than anyone in the main ensemble”