Sunday, April 14, 2024

Box Office: Oliver Stone’s “Snowden” Seeks Pardon with $3 Mil Friday Opening, $9 Mil Weekend


Edward Snowden wants President Obama to pardon him, but first he may need some help at the box office.

Oliver Stone’s entertaining love letter to Snowden looks like it pulled in a meager $3 million on Friday night including $390,000 from Thursday previews. If they make a $9 million weekend, they’ll be lucky.

I thought “Snowden” was very entertaining, plus I learned a lot from it. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is excellent as the kid who blew the whistle on the NSA, up-ended the world intelligence community, and then ran away to Russia. Shailene Woodley is very good as his girlfriend and the whole thing moves well until the end when Snowden himself shows up and gives a speech.

But reviewers thought the movie lacked the Oliver Stone “magic” (I disagree) and gave it a 48 on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences appear to be ambivalent, maybe not understanding that this all really happened, and that unbridled surveillance of all of us continues.

The “Snowden” budget is said to be $40 million, but I’d say add another 10 for all those trips to Russia, and the considerable amount of promotion. If you haven’t seen it yet, tonight’s the night. If nothing else, you might learn to solve a Rubik’s Cube.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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