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Just How Badly "Fantastic Four" and "The Gift" Bombed: Math Edition

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Box Office Round-Ups | August 10, 2015 |

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Box Office Round-Ups | August 10, 2015 |

Did you know that there are more film critics online than there are lions left in Zimbabwe? I don’t know if that’s actually true, but I know that both groups are terrified of the dentist.


I watched The Gift alone in an empty theater on Thursday night. This was not an abnormal occurrence. About one in three movies I go see on opening night, I’m the only one in the audience. And this is at the brand new multiplex that they just opened six months ago despite there already being another movie theater in town that was just as empty on opening nights.

I’m assured by my fellow reviewers on the site that this is not completely normal. TK used words that even sailors don’t know about yet, on account of the fact that he wishes the movies he reviewed had no one else there. He also wishes that roads, restaurants, stores, and major metropolitan areas also had no one else there.

But in related news, Fantastic Four: Still Looking For Rock Bottom and The Gift: No Not the One With Katie Holmes’ Rack both bombed catastrophically at the box office. Just how badly did they do? Well in conjunction with my empty theater, let’s get creative with math.


So by counting up all of the critics on Rotten Tomatoes, we get 9,311 critics. Now this isn’t exactly accurate by any stretch. There are a few duplicates in there, and there are a lot of people missing. For example, I’m not even on there. And I saw Getaway opening night, so as far as film critics go, I deserve a fucking purple heart. But it’s good enough for government work, so let’s start playing with numbers.

Let’s assume that all movie critics go see every movie on opening night. This is completely inaccurate, but then a decent number of professional, and a hell of a lot of amateur critics aren’t even on Rotten Tomatoes, so let’s just roll with the various error terms being in opposite directions and thus somewhat canceling out.

Fantastic Four made $11,275,000 on opening day. The Gift was only good for $4,130,000. At $10 per movie ticket (which is actually a bit low for non-matinee opening night purchases), that means that there were about 1.2 million tickets sold opening day to Fantastic Four and 413,000 to The Gift. That means about as many people saw The Gift across the entire country as go to the Indy 500 every year.

Now let’s divide out the number of critics in the country, and we come out to these figures: about one in 121 people who saw Fantastic Four and one in 43 who saw The Gift on opening day were movie critics who had to be there.

Math doesn’t lie.

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Steven Lloyd Wilson is the sci-fi and history editor. You can email him here or follow him on Twitter.