Tuesday, July 16, 2024

UPDATE “Birth of a Nation” Opens DOA to $7Mil Weekend: Scandal, Hubris Kill Former Oscar Favorite

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SUNDAY AM UPDATE: Final number was as I predicted — $7.1 million. Hubris killed this former Oscar favorite. This was a missed opportunity. I feel bad for Fox Searchlight because they didn’t know what was happening. But they have Pablo Lorrain’s “Jackie” in their back pocket. Is there any way to save “Birth”? Just thinking of SAG Q&A’s makes me want Mylanta, on ice.

SAT AM: “Birth of a Nation” is DOA more or less after a lackluster Friday opening. Nate Parker’s excellent film took in just $2.6 million last night, eyeing a weekend of $7 million if they’re lucky.

The controversy over Parker’s 2001 rape acquittal and the subsequent scandal– including the suicide of the accuser in 2012– has done the film in.

On top of that, Parker’s mishandling of the publicity this week, his refusal to apologize for anything or even appear contrite, threw fat on the fire. Instead of looking like someone who was sorry and rehabilitated, Parker came across as angry. That was the last straw. I’m totally surprised about how this has gone.

Fox Searchlight bought “Birth of a Nation” for $17 million, the biggest payday at Sundance ever. They’ve probably spent another $20 million marketing it. To get to $40 million– that seems difficult. If the movie had caught on, if the black community had rallied to it, if historians had declared it a “must-see” movie…if, if, if.

And is there an international market for “Birth”? Unlikely.

Now it’s hard to compare, but “12 Years a Slave,” with crazy great publicity and Oscars etc only made $56 million domestically. Abroad it actually made $131 million, which is outstanding. But that again was with all the bells and whistles, and no negatives. So “Birth” is pretty much over, I’m afraid. What a shame.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
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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