Benedict Cumberbatch probably thought he’d scooped the role of a lifetime when he decided to play WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in The Fifth Estate. In theory, it could have been an incredibly interesting and dramatic film, but in actuality, it turned into a massive box office flop, making only $1.7 million on its opening weekend. That makes it one of the worst openings of 2013, with an average of $969 per-screen. Ha!
From The Hollywood Reporter:
Assange’s longtime campaign against Bill Condon‘s WikiLeaks movie The Fifth Estate culminated with the renegade website offering free downloads of its own documentary Mediastan just as Fifth Estate was released in North America by Disney’s Touchstone label.
“This weekend,” Assange said in a statement, “instead of wasting your time and money on Hollywood propaganda, why not get all your friends around and spend your time watching Mediastan instead?”
Regardless of what role Mediastan played, Fifth Estate quickly died, grossing a paltry $1.7 million from 1,769 theaters — the worst opening of the year so far for a movie opening in more than 1,500 theaters.
There were no immediate stats available in terms of how many times Mediastan was downloaded in North America. Last weekend, 500,000 people downloaded a free copy of the documentary when it was made available to coincide with Fifth Estate‘s release in the U.K. (that would equal $4.2 million in U.S. box office receipts).
“We’re disappointed with these results,” said Disney distribution chief Dave Hollis, noting that Fifth Estate did best in big cities, including New York, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Los Angeles and Toronto. The pic also skewed slightly male (54 percent).
I can’t think of anything I want to see less than The Fifth Estate, but I’m also not all that interested in Mediastan (though documentaries are more exciting than fictionalised accounts based on true stories, I feel). What do you think? Have you seen either of them? Will you? I will say it’s a shame to see a Stanley Tucci movie tank.