James Brown gets the big-screen treatment next Friday in "Get On Up," the latest from director Tate Taylor ("The Help"). It's a gamble: Few musical figures are as towering as the Godfather of Soul, but biographical films have not been dependable sellers of late. Here's how some recent examples have fared, with domestic grosses from boxofficemojo.com:
The Social Network (2010) David Fincher's story of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) felt like a new kind of biopic: snazzy, stylish and youth-oriented. It won three Oscars and became a $97 million hit.
J. Edgar (2011) Clint Eastwood went the traditional route for his dark, musty portrait of FBI founder J. Edgar Hoover (Leonardo DiCaprio). It stalled at $37.3 million but did better overseas.
The Iron Lady (2011) Margaret Thatcher was England's Ronald Reagan, but we Yanks don't care much about overseas politicians. Meryl Streep's star power helped pull in $30 million.
Lincoln (2012) When Steven Spielberg directs Daniel Day Lewis as America's 16th president, crowds are bound to turn out. The epic drama earned two Oscars, including Lewis for best actor, and took in $182 million.
Diana (2013) Apparently, it's still too soon for a movie about the princess of Wales, even one starring look-alike Naomi Watts. Deep suspicion, terrible publicity and venomous reviews ("a special class of awful," said The Telegraph) killed it on arrival. The total: $335,359.
Jobs (2013) Ashton Kutcher gave a solid performance as Apple visionary Steve Jobs, but the movie was about as compelling as a Windows error message. It squeaked past $16 million.
Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom (2013) The first major biopic about global icon Nelson Mandela (Idris Elba) should have been a historical event. It even had a theme song by U2! Somehow, the movie underwhelmed, pulling in only $8.3 million.
Jersey Boys (2014) Eastwood's latest is a big-screen version of the smash Broadway musical about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. It's rather weird -- characters frequently speak to the camera -- but songs like "Sherry" and "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" still sound great. So far, the hit parade has shuffled along slowly, to the tune of about $43 million.