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The World Loves a Good Box Office Disaster

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | March 29, 2010 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | March 29, 2010 |

You folks remember Motherhood, right? Of course you don’t. Nobody remembers Motherhood because the marketing team behind it is completely incompetent. The trailer for the movie, which we posted last August, looked kind of cute, but for the fact that the movie wanted us to feel sorry for the woe-is-me stay-at-home mother who is forced to raise her children in Manhattan with only the help of her loving husband. That poor, downtrodden lady.

But that lady was also a blogger, a blogger based on Katherine Dieckmann’s book, Motherhood. In short, the movie looked like a generic blogger movie that failed to capture the life of the average blogger, which is probably for the best, since the average blogger doesn’t look like Uma Thurman.

And you know what people don’t give a shit about? Bloggers’ lives, even if those bloggers are mothers. In fact, they cared so little that Thurman’s Motherhood only made $93,000 or so when it opened in the United States. On a budget of $5 million.

But that’s nothing compared to how it opened in the UK. There, it made $131 on opening weekend. Not pounds. One hundred and 31 American dollars. That is to say, about 11 people saw it. In fact, only one (1) person saw it on its opening Sunday (the movie only opened in one theater). As UK critic Barry Norman noted:

“The reviews were very poor indeed but that alone isn’t enough to explain this. It’s a reasonable assumption that there was a marketing and advertising catastrophe, and people didn’t know it was showing. But it should have attracted more than 11 people in passing trade alone. Apollo cinemas, after all, aren’t in tucked-away places. They’re all prominently located. I’m baffled.”

A marketing and advertising catastrophe? You think? You could get more than 11 people to show up to a movie with a Craiglist ad. Or by putting up a few flyers in the local coffee shops. That is a failure of legend! I’m surprised, even, that a PR firm was even hired for the movie.

But according to the UK Guardian, it’s not the biggest failure in British film history. That title belongs to a small independent film called My Nikifor, which opened with just seven pounds, which is to say: One person saw it in a theater. Which is to say: Motherhood did 11 times better than My Nikifor.

You gotta find the positive somewhere. After all, I kind of like Uma Thurman. But, man: A film’s opening weekend box-office should never align to sell with my bank account balance.

Also, one British movie-goer who walked out of the movie had this to say about it: “It is proper pants.”

I love the British.

(Source: Guardian)

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.