The season of horror movies has begun. With the spectacular success of Annabelle: Creation and It at the box office, Jennifer Lawrence's Mother! was expected to continue the streak.
While box office predictions were clear that the movie will not overtake It's number one position, the film was expected to debut a rank above American Assassin, which was releasing with it. However, shocking audience reaction has led to the film's disappointing start to its opening weekend collections.
Earning a disappointing F score from Cinemascore, the Darren Aronofsky's directorial failed to impress the audience and box office. The reaction comes as a shock since the film mostly received good reviews from critics, creating Oscar buzz and earned a high rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The F rating is quiet a rare rating any film with such a buzz has got.
Entertainment Weekly notes that the audience reactions were shared after the Friday night screenings. The audience revolted against the Black Swan famed director's recent presentation. The overall rejection could be attributed towards the marketing technique.
"A's generally are good, B's generally are shaky, and C's are terrible. D's and F's, they shouldn't have made the movie, or they promoted it funny and the absolute wrong crowd got into it," CinemaScore founder Ed Mintz explained in a 2016 interview, EW reported.
This reaction has definitely impacted the box office collection of the movie. Mother! was expected to open higher than the mediocre American Assassins. However, Forbes notes that Mother! has officially bombed at the box office, debuting with a poor $3 million on the opening day whereas American Assassin earned a decent $6 million.
Deadline predicts that JLaw's new movie will end its opening weekend at $7.8 million.
Many market analysts believe that the reason behind such a bad audience reaction could be because the film is not a typical massy horror movie. EW explains that the film mixes broad religious allegory with home-invasion horror which concludes in a shocking, R-rated violence. And not everyone would enjoy such a watch.
Forbes points out that while many movie buffs were impressed by Paramount Picture's cryptic previews and stunning reviews, audience should have been warned that the film might not be a good watch for general moviegoers.
Deadline also argued that Paramount should have informed viewers that it was high on art, adding that Mother!'s right place is in a specialty house.
"But then — would sophisticated audiences like it? It's obvious why Paramount went wide with this movie and didn't roll it out: They knew it would greatly divide moviegoers. Going wide was the only means to make any amount of money, especially with Lawrence as headliner. There's no winning in a platform release, because bad word of mouth would have crept up fast," Deadline explains.
Lawrence's "WTF" movie stands with Steven Soderbergh's Solaris, Nicolas Cage's The Wicker Man, Brad Pitt's Killing Them Softly and Open Road's Silent House to name a few. While this is Lawrence's first movie to be ranked an F, Paramount is not new to the segment. Its 2012 release, The Devil Inside was also awarded the F rank.