This weekend, the journalistic procedural drama, about the persecution of the sexual predator harvey weinstein by two journalists from The New York Timeswill take on maybe $2.27 million in 2,022 theaterss. That’s less than half the already low $5 million to $6 million forecast a few days ago: a brutal beating for a film that was generally well-reviewed and was tagged as of Saturday by eight of 22 “experts” on the site. brother Gold Derby as one of the top ten contenders for Best Picture.
The opening is a dud, and not the kind that can be chalked up to technical glitches: the wrong theaters, a bad release date, poor marketing, or whatever.
Rather, the audience simply turned away. It didn’t even seem like it, despite the supposed advantages of a high-profile story, a standout New York Film Festival debut, and a talented cast, with Zoe KazanMore, carey mulligan Y patricia clarkson.
So someone is sending a message, and it’s up to an increasingly shaky movie business to figure out exactly what it is.
By Monday, there will be a lot of opinions, I’m sure. And with the weekend still underway, it’s impossible to offer more than an educated guess. But, for what it’s worth, here are my best guesses so far:
Viewers are emotionally drained.. They have poured their entire store of outrage and resentment into a midterm election that left political and cultural tensions essentially unchanged. There’s simply nothing left to spend on a real-life prosecution picture, not even one that, as critic Alexis Soloski wrote in The times, strives to avoid heated polemics. (“Instead of incendiary feminism, the film emphasizes decency, insight and rigor,” he insisted.) Especially fascinating is the rise of Angel Studios’ The Chosen One: Season 3 – a faith-based story about Jesus Christ and his followers – as the second ranked theatrical event of the weekend, just behind the previous one black panther: wakanda forever, with perhaps $10 million in box office sales. The conflict ripped from the headlines is in eclipse; faith and fantasy are on the rise.
People are done with Harvey Weinstein. Yes, she is still on trial for sex crimes in Los Angeles. But the current accusation is anticlimax. Whatever the jury decides, he’s already been convicted of rape in New York, he’s behind bars and he’ll stay behind bars unless he wins a Cosby-like victory on appeal. Meanwhile, media consumers in the main movie-going demographic, young adults, have moved on to more contemporary villains. The current favorite, dwarfing even the progressives’ nemesis, Elon Musk, is 30 years old. Sam Bankman-fried, the disgraced crypto-king. with last week offers in a book by Michael Lewis on Bankman-Fried’s FTX scandal, a career to the screen, big or small, has begun. By the time it’s over, unfortunately, his story may be as exhausted as Weinstein’s. But that’s the nature of the media beast.
Journalists are not as interesting as they think they are. Including those of The New York Times, and I say this having been one. In movies, reporters and editors do best when they are deeply flawed, like the scheming cynic played by Kirk Douglas in Billy Wilder. ace in the holeor the many iterations of the semi-corrupt Hildy Johnson and Walter Burns, or those flawed boomer heroes Woodward and Bernstein, on whose All the president’s men tactics that we continue to discuss. Even Stand out, winner of Best Picture and the most remembered news drama of recent years, traded off some wacky character portrayals, most notably Liev Schreiber’s deadpan and blunt performance as Boston Globe editor Marty Baron, and used the wry advantage of playing to a period piece. Released in 2015, when the reckless Internet reigned, the film had fun with the outdated movement of journalists who, working only 12 or 13 years before, already seemed like dinosaurs. She said, on the contrary, is quite pious. As the Times The critic Soloski reminds us that these reporters do things well. And when there’s a knock on your door, your first instinct is, well, to run the other way.