The CinemaScore, the long-running audience exit poll survey of filmgoing audiences on opening weekend, has given Darren Aronofsky’s “mother!” one of its rare distinctions – a failing grade of ‘F’.
Often seen as the public equivalent of the critics’ Tomato-meter aggregate score, the CinemaScore proves often not so much a marker of quality as it is that an audience’s expectations were met and satisfied.
Big crowd-pleasing films that make clear who their audience is, what they’re about and deliver to that crowd will get an A+. In recent times that has included such films as “Hidden Figures,” “Patriot’s Day” and “Girls Trip”.
Films that challenge, dare or risk upsetting their audience often fare worse – sometimes far worse. With an ad campaign that was deliberately vague, the film is deliberately provocative and has mostly gone over well with critics. Even so, it has caused division and discussion amongst them.
It was always going to have a rough time with a general crowd, but “mother!” marks the first ‘F’ since 2012’s “Killing Them Softly” and one of only a dozen or so films to receive that grade which has been put on such films as Soderbergh’s “Solaris” remake, “Wolf Creek,” the Nic Cage-led “The Wicker Man” remake, Richard Kelly’s “The Box,” and spoof comedy “Disaster Movie”.
The reviews seem to be having an impact as “mother!” opened to a dismal $3.1 million on opening day and is headed for an $8 million opening weekend – the worst wide launch of star Jennifer Lawrence’s career.
The film is set to be trounced by “IT” in its second weekend which is geared for another $59 million, while the Dylan O’Brien-led “American Assassin” looks set to garner around $15.5 million.