Just what is it about Gerard Butler? I don't get it.
—Irene, Los Angeles via the Answer B!tch inbox
I don't either, but that's probably because the guy kind of looks like my brother. Gives me the willies.
Anyway, I put this question both to the box office experts and my readers. You may be surprised to hear that, in part, Butler is taking over tabloid roles previously manned by two other Hollywood hunks...
...specifically, Russell Crowe and Colin Farrell. It's not so much in the punchy, fighty department, or in the baby daddy category. It's more of a general, raunchy vibe with a slightly foreign—but not too foreign—accent.
When it comes to the Crowe comparisons, there's a clear similarity there. Like Crowe, Butler burst into the American mainstream playing a shirtless fighting machine from a bygone culture, rallying other fighter dudes while covered with classical-era grime. For Crowe, the role was in Gladiator; Butler played Leonidas in 300.
"He was Leonidas. That's why I love him. I love Leonidas," Facebooker Pique S. explains to me. "And he was ripped, don't deny that while watching 300 you were a little sad that those guys only exist on celluloid!"
All that ab appeal has also translated into quite a respectable box office return for Butler.
Plenty of people still remember that breakout 300 role—particularly female audiences, says box office analyst Jeff Bock of Exhibitor Relations.
Romantic comedies can be tough to make money on, especially in this economy, but when you pair Butler with a lady and call it a comedy, the cash comes rolling in.
Bock tells me that the Butler-Katherine Heigl jape The Ugly Truth cost about $38 million and brought in a domestic haul of $88 million, which is considered all kinds of terrific. P.S. I Love You cost only $30 million and made $53 million, Bock says.
"When you pair him with a woman actor, he does extremely well," Bock tells me. Oh, and look, there he is now with Jennifer Aniston in something called The Bounty Hunter.
Butler also does extremely well in the tabloid love department; hence the comparisons to Colin Farrell.
"I know he's a skank but still love him," Facebook fan Maryse B. explains. "I'd have a beer with him any day—but I may not touch him though."
By "skank," we may mean "Hollywood's playboy du jour," as Star magazine prefers to put it.
Simply put, the ladies out there love him, and Gerard keeps fans on a steady diet of amusing tales of bikini Mexico getaways, flirtations with topless dancers and street-performer make-out sessions.
Need still more Butler? Check out our What's the Appeal? photo gallery.