The Fifth Estate had the lowest opening weekend earnings seen in 2013 for a movie released across more than 1500 theatres in North America. A mere $1.7 million for the three-day weekend! While it might be one of the biggest failures when it comes to high profile movies, it certainly is not the worst movie performance on the box-office in the all-time list. If we were to consider the movies which opened across at least 600 theatres, then The Fifth Estate would not even feature in the top 200 (or bottom 200? confusing!). But to make it more comparative, we look at the worst three movie openings (i.e. the first weekend earnings) of all time which released in at least 1500 theatres.
1. Creature (2011)
The worst opening weekend earning stands at $0.33 million. A movie which hardly anyone would have known of, Creature is a horror film in which a group of friends unearth a secret that unleashes a monster from the swamp. Quite typical! Two things went wrong for this film to put it on top of this list. First, it seems to have been quite a terrible film, with an Imdb rating of 3.7 and a Tomatometer score of 11%. Second, it was released on the tenth anniversary of one of the biggest tragedies in US history, September 11. Why would you release a horror film on that day? Beats me. The debutant director, Fred Andrews, has understandably not directed another feature film yet. In all, the movie made around half a million dollars, and called it a day!
2. Oogieloves in the BIG Balloon Adventure (2012)
Did its strangely long name become the cause of its ruin? Or was it the bizarre concept it was built on where the youngsters in the audience were encouraged by the onscreen characters to sing along, and also to get up and dance? One now wonders how many youngsters were actually there. Or would it have been fun to dance in an empty cinema hall? The movie earned $0.44 million in the first weekend and $1.1 million in its entire run, completely obliterating its production budget of $20 million and whatever marketing budget there must have been on top of this.
3. Delgo (2008)
How bad can an animated movie be with the voices of Freddie Prinze Jr., Jennifer Love Hewitt and Val Kilmer amongst others? Supposedly, very bad. A production budget of $40 million would have been screaming for a decent opening. Definitely more than the $0.51 million the movie eventually opened with in its first weekend. Yep, half a million dollars. In its complete theatrical run, the movie did not even gross a million dollars, and its director duo of Marc Adler and Jason Maurer are yet to direct a full-length feature film again.
The Fifth Estate did fare better than the ones above, though that is hardly any consolation for such a publicized movie. On another October possibly when Gravity was not dominating the theatres, more people might have flocked to this biopic. The failure of the movie is hardly likely to result in end of careers. Benedict Cumberbatch still remains one of the big emerging names in the Hollywood landscape with innumerable movies lined up against his name, Daniel Brühl has already announced his presence in style to the English-movie watching audience with Ron Howard’s Rush and would be seen again in the theatres soon, and director Bill Condon has an interesting project lined up next, A Slight Trick of the Mind, revolving around a retired Sherlock Holmes to be played by Ian McKellen. The studios would of course be crying over their lost money on The Fifth Estate. But hey, it’s part of the deal, right? You win some, you lose some…