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+.