In a rare event, two original movies opened at the box-office this past weekend. One a modern, grungy stripper drama with a woke sensibility and a diverse cast. The other a quintessential ‘prestige drama’ film adaptation of an acclaimed novel with an all-star cast.
That “Hustlers” beat “The Goldfinch” didn’t come as much of a surprise, but how badly the latter fared was an eye-opener. The $40 million Warner Bros. Pictures drama tanked hard – opening in eighth and ultimately pulling in just $2.6 million for the weekend making it one of the worst wide opening releases of all time.
Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros. Pictures’ president of domestic distribution, tells Variety: “I think the audience wasn’t interested in seeing this literary work on-screen. There were many things that didn’t work, but the biggest was probably the marketplace. The gap between the have and the have-nots is growing even bigger.”
Not helping and not mention by Goldstein was the film’s debut at the Toronto Film Festival with reviews for the film pretty dire at just 25% on Rotten Tomatoes.
“Hustlers” meanwhile leveraged its cast and their social media outreach, combined with rave reviews out of Toronto, to turn their $20 million drama into a big hit with a $33 million opening weekend haul which STX desperately needed. Even so, there’s one area it fell behind ‘Goldfinch’ – it received a ‘B-‘ CinemaScore compared to Goldfinch’s ‘B’.