First Man arrived in theaters this weekend with a lot of critical hype around it. Reuniting director Damian Chazelle with his La La Land star Ryan Gosling, the film depicts the Apollo 11 mission and the first moon landing. While First Man currently holds a 88 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and is almost guaranteed to be a lock for a Best Picture Oscar nomination, audiences not only didn’t show up to see it but were nowhere near as enthusiastic in their responses as critics.
First Man’s CinemaScore rating sits at a B+, which actually translates to a so-so rating, while the film has an unimpressive 61 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Compare that to Venom, another October release that has an audience score of nearly 90 percent and absolutely cleaned up at the box office despite being absolutely trashed in official reviews.
Domestically, First Man earned just $16.5 million and fared even worse overseas with $8.6 million from 22 markets. According to The Hollywood Reporter, First Man’s distributor Universal has insisted that the film will enjoy a long box office run and will see its fortunes rise as we get closer to awards season.
“Our core audience, adult males, don’t necessarily run out on opening weekend,” says Jim Orr, Universal’s president of domestic distribution, noting that males made up 56 percent of ticket purchases, while more than half of the audience was over the age of 35. “We’ll have a great run for weeks and months to come.”