Of course, Venom
isn’t the only obstacle hindering First Man’s
performance. Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born
, starring Lady Gaga, also opened this weekend and performed much better than First Man
, bringing in $28 million domestically. As box office analyst Jeff Bock writes, Universal underestimated the competition and is currently paying for their mistake.
“Universal, like everyone else, underestimated the box-office potency of Venom and A Star Is Born,” says Bock. “That one-two punch has been fatal to the competition. And while obtuse and distant worked for Whiplash (Chazelle’s 2014 film), the coldness of First Man certainly won’t lead to strong word-of-mouth. The pic could fade way quickly as sci-fi titles do more often than not.”
Bock’s last point touches on an ongoing trend in Hollywood, which is that science-fiction is often box office Kryptonite. While First Man technically isn’t science-fiction, its subject matter puts it in a similar genre as films like last year’s Blade Runner 2049 (which coincidentally also starred Gosling) and this year’s Annihilation, both of which reviewed well but failed to gain much traction with audiences.
http://s3.foxfilm.com/foxmovies/production/films/104/images/gallery/martian-gallery3-gallery-image.jpg Source: foxfilm.com
Despite First Man’s struggles, there have been space epics that have managed to take flight in the past. Five years ago, Gravity was released in October and had a $55.8 million opening, the best of that month. The next year, Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar beat expectations with earnings of $677.5 million worldwide and yet again in 2015, another space epic in the form of Ridley Scott’s The Martian was a financial success with a $54.3 million opening in October.
Two other potential issues include controversy over Chazelle’s decision to not show the iconic image of Armstrong planting the American flag (though there’s no evidence that yet supports the idea that this has substantially impacted the film’s performance) and marketing; specifically, Universal’s print campaign which, as Richard Rushfield of The Anklker points out, seems to be selling two different movies:
Whatever the factors may be, First Man still has time to reverse its fortunes and become a box office success, but this certainly isn’t the opening many were expecting for what’s been hyped as one of the year’s biggest films.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
Want Goliath news delivered straight to your inbox every day? Join our mailing list now.
Follow me on Twitter at Nick_Steinberg.
The Biggest Box Office Disappointments Of 2018 (So Far)
We’ve reached the halfway mark of 2018 and so far, this year has provided us with a handful of big success stories at the box office. The massive superhero crossover event Avengers: Infinity War cost at least $300 million to produce, making it one of the most expensive movies ever made, but the film easily earned back its huge budget and then some. The Marvel Studios production has earned over $2 billion worldwide and now sits just behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens as the fourth-highest grossing film of all time.
In fact, 2018 has proven to be another lucrative year for superhero filmmaking. Despite claims of fatigue setting in, the four biggest moneymakers of the year — Infinity War, Black Panther, Deadpool 2, and Incredibles 2 — are all superhero-related. Unfortunately, outside of that genre, box office success stories have been few and far between in the first half of the year, to the point where the fifth biggest earner, Solo: A Star Wars Story, is in fact one of 2018’s financial failures once you factor in production costs and the like. However, the latest Star Wars movie isn’t the only box office flop we’ve seen this year …
So far, the following 11 movies represent the biggest box office disappointments of 2018: