The 8 Films, All Time, To Receive an "F" From Cinemascore
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The 8 Films, All Time, To Receive an "F" From Cinemascore

By Dustin Rowles | Box Office Round-Ups | December 2, 2012 | Comments ()


It wasn't a particularly exciting weekend at the box office, as holdovers dominated the entire weekend, and the weekend after Thanskgiving is already traditionally one of the slowest of the year. Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part II held the top spot for the third week in a row, adding $17.7 million to bring its total to $254 million. Skyfall was at number two for the third week in a row (after debuting at number one four weeks ago), adding $17 million to bring its total to $246 million. The fantastic Lincoln added another $13 million, and with $83 million so far, it's a shoo-in for $100 million, especially once the Awards season gets into full swing. Rise of the Guardians and Life of PI both added $13.5 million respectively, to bring their two week totals to $84 million and $49 million.

The big story of the weekend, if you can call it that, was the failure of Brad Pitt's Killing Them Softly, which tanked, coming in at number seven with only $7 million, which sounds worse than it is. The movie was produced for only $15 million, so it's likely to recoup its budget, and it's much better than the $4 million that director Andrew Dominick and Brad Pitt's last collaboration, The Assassination of Jesse James made during its entire run. Like Assassination and Drive, Killing Them Softly is not exactly multiplex friendly.

Troubling, however, is that Killing Them Softly became only the 8th film of all time to earn an "F" from Cinemascore, which means that audiences that actually sought the film out hated it. For the life of me, I don't understand why, as the marketing wasn't particularly misleading. I thought it was an outstanding movie (as did Dan and Caspar)

Who are these people responsible for Cinemascores? They are the typical American audience members. Each Friday, Cinemascore sends out employees to ask people coming out of screenings to grade the movie they just saw. Market researchers use the data to determine the long-term success of the movie. An A+ is very rare while an F is even more rare. Basically, what they suggest is that mainstream moviegoers do not like indie fare or movies that might hurt their brains. Hollywood studios, in turn, try to gear their movies toward these people (and not intelligent people, or discerning people, or people that understand noun/verb agreement). It's a good measure not of how good a movie is, but often of how well the movie will perform because high Cinemascores suggest strong word of mouth, which portends better staying power at the box office.

Here's the 8 films, all time, with an "F" Cinema Score, and their Rotten Tomatoes score.

1. Killing Them Softly (78%)

2. Solaris (65%)

3. Bug (61%)

4. Wolf Creek (53%)

5. Darkness (4%)

6. The Box (45%)

7. Silent House (41%)

8. The Devil Inside (7%)

Of the ones I've seen, I loved both Klling Them Softly and Bug, and I liked The Box well enough. I kind of agree on Solaris, and an F is too kind to The Devil Inside.

If you're curious, for your own edification, here's a few of the movies that have made an A+.

The Help
Soul Surfer
King's Speech
The Avengers

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • PuraPuma

    How can you trust a site where people gave Soul Surfer an A+?

  • Pants-are-a-must

    I remember getting dragged to see the first Twilight movie and then getting hounded by the Cinemascore people as I left the theater. Though I've seen voting ballots better organized, I took great delight in absolutely trashing that fucking movie.

  • NateMan

    Seems like the right place to ask this question: How did so many people love Drive? My wife and I both hated that movie with an unholy passion. Somehow they made a movie about driving fast and stomping people to death boring. And the stupid jacket and terrible soundtrack drove me mad.

  • PuraPuma

    Don't worry - I didn't care for it either and really wanted to.... I had a hard time getting through it. I often think I should watch it again.

  • Kailan_Sunshine

    Personally, I thought it was such a quiet movie that when the violence exploded on the screen, it really EXPLODED. I was completely enthralled. Although, to be fair, I haven't re-watched it yet, and there are a lot of movies I loved on the first viewing that did not uphold their glorious first-viewing memories (see: X-men: First Class).

    And as good as Gosling made that jacket look, it is rather hideous on it's own. Like, claw your eyes out awful.

  • NoPantsMcLane


  • Luke Anthony Matthews

    Wolf Creek is brilliant horror movie, screw 'mainstream' America.

  • RilesSD

    YES. Wolf Creek was awesome. What's to hate about an actual scary horror movie with beautiful cinematography?

  • wojtek

    Solaris is definitely in my top 10 of all time, and sometimes edges into the top 5. It's a fantastic human dynamics/relationship movie. But I suppose I see how it could be a disappointment to sci-fi diehards.

  • Snobby comment of the day: the 1972 original was better.

  • Ley

    Solaris and Bug are there because of marketing. I mean Clooney as an astronaut, and it isn't Armageddon part 2?

    Drive also had a C-, apparently. And here I was thinking it's much better on the big screen.

  • DominaNefret

    Tangled totally deserves that A+.

  • Anne At Large

    Really? All I could think of was the guy was just like Aladdin but with a horse instead of a monkey...

  • Maguita NYC

    Beg your pardon. But the guy was Joey Tribbiani.

  • Pants-are-a-must

    Except the horse is way better than the monkey and the mute role of the parents is devastating. Everytime they're onscreen, it's emotionally equivalent to the first 10 minutes of "Up".

  • Mrs. Julien

    The lanterns make me weep every time. They're a perfect metaphor for parents' love.

  • It's because some Americans are often so patriotic that being told how shitty their system is makes them mad, even when it's true and they are getting screwed over.... in regards to why killing them softly is being poorly received.

  • Ryan L

    No it's just a terrible terrible movie.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Which is also the reason why Last Resort was cancelled, I presume.

  • Idle Primate

    What! Damn. I've only seen the first few episodes and was looking forward to where it went. It's not surprising tho, that American audiences were not so keen. The patriot machine has been full throttle for a decade.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    At least they'll show the rest of the season.

  • zeke_the_pig

    Ding! Correct answer.

  • Killing them Softly, though rife with a handful of amahzing actors was too hamfisted to be effective. Whomever directed this film (can't remember his name, is it Andrew K.?) tried way too hard to draw parallels between political and civilian thuggery. We get it, we're not that dull. I felt like they didn't trust the audience enough to get the point so they brought it up for us and then proceeded to whack us on the head with that point. And then they had the nerve to drop an anvil on our heads at the end with that effing speech. Was it beautifully shot? No doubt. I can't think anything else, of note, to mention.

  • VonnegutSlut

    I haven't seen the movie yet, so I can't speak to its "ineffective hamfisted-ness" but I do have one issue with this: No, "we"--as in the vast majority of Americans--do NOT get the correlations between political and civilian thuggery and skullduggery. Otherwise, we wouldn't be in the current financial circumstances we find ourselves in--as a country.

    I may get it, you may get it, but a whole friggin' lot of Americans--and moviegoers--don't get it, and a lot of the time that's because they're too busy just trying to feed their family and send Sally to ballet lessons and Tommy to karate (or Tommy to ballet lessons and Sally to karate) and make the mortgage and keep the lights on and maybe, just maybe, once in a while, take their significant other out to a nice steak dinner to have the time, patience or inclination to look into the complex (often insidious) web that creates our modern socio-political economy. It does hurt your brain to do that and when you really look into the political and financial, so-called "legitimate" thuggery that permeates our society, you want to get all murdery on everyone. I'm not saying these people are simple or lazy when it comes to civic duties; I'm saying they're exhausted and have to prioritize.

    Maybe the filmmakers were trying to be a bit more overt in lifting this veil and open some eyes without causing random, frustrated homicide rates to quadruple in the cities where its screened. Maybe it's a shitty movie. Don't know, like I said: have yet to see it.

    All I DO know is, it sorta makes sense--although in a pitiful, twisted, what-the-fuck-have-we-come-to?!?!!?--way, that the aforementioned Joe/Josephine Blow might come out of the theater giving it an F for might have opened his or her eyes just enough for a little of that shitty, blinding light to come in and remind them just how fucked our system can be and just how little time they have to effect change on it.

    And that will make anyone more than a little testy.

  • Jezzer

    I just want to point out that I see your Penny Pronunciation, and I upvoted based on that alone.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Hollywood studios, in turn, try to gear their movies toward these people (and not intelligent people, or discerning people, or people that understand noun/verb agreement).

    What's that you say, Dustin? You don't want movies made for the 47%?

  • e jerry powell

    Darlin', that's what Tyler Perry's for.

  • e jerry powell

    Dustin, just out of curiosity:

    Did you find that Bug was grossly misrepresented in the marketing campaign?

  • Michellery

    I don't remember the marketing for 'Bug' at all, but I worked at Blockbuster when it was released on DVD and whoo boy, did people hate it. Personally, I loved the movie and I remember actually recommending to a couple of people that I thought may like it. But if I remember correctly, most people didn't know much about it, just saw that it starred Ashley Judd and must of thought "Oh I love that sweet Ashley Judd" and rented it without having any real clue what it was about.

  • e jerry powell

    Pushing the Judd angle was the completely wrong direction to go with it, but going with Michael Shannon would have accomplished even less at that point in time. I don't quite get why Lionsgate (home of Tyler Perry, let's not forget) would pick up a boutique project (Tracy Letts being a Steppenwolf darling little known outside theater circles) without really knowing what to do with it, aside from the project being a passion of Friedkin's.

  • Aside from using a very targeted marketing campaign, only running the trailer on a handful of TV stations and mostly focusing on in-theater advertising, Bug wasn't really off on its marketing campaign. The big issue was the fact that William Friedkin took a shit your pants scary play and turned it into a a very stagey, one room film, complete with three acts signified by blackouts and new set dressings. People expected a new Exorcist and got something closer to a modern language adaptation of a Greek tragedy.

    The marketing didn't lie. People just didn't know what Bug was. You can't exactly sell a film as "straight from the barely recouping its budget Broadway play" and expect an audience.

  • e jerry powell

    So, pretty much like Drive, really, marketing for which convinced more than a few moviegoers that they'd be getting something Fast and Furious.

  • Exactly.

  • vercordio

    That A+ list is such a mixed bag. I expected to resoundingly hate anything mainstream audiences would rank tops. You win this round, Argo.

  • $27019454

    BIG time.

  • Candee

    Good God I hated the Help.

  • dookie pie

  • DeistBrawler

    Good God what is wrong with you?

  • Jezzer

    It WAS kind of a treacly "let's make white people feel good about themselves for being so enlightened" movie, DB.

  • Mitchell Hundred

    Not to mention that it had a sloppily constructed plot. Just a whole bunch of elements that really felt superfluous.

  • DeistBrawler

    Well, not everyone agrees with you. What with the 4 Academy Award nominations including Best Picture. And Jessica Chastain was goddamn adorable. Then again The King's Speech won for Best Picture and I couldn't stand that fucking movie. What I'm getting at. I suppose. Is to each their own and this post doesn't matter one bit.

    Also, I loved the book. So I adored the fact that I could see the characters come to life in a somewhat faithful adaptation.

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