Thursday, May 23, 2024

Box Office: Apathy Toward Kathryn Bigelow’s “Detroit” (And No Stars) Brings a Meager $7 Mil Weekend


Kathryn Bigelow’s “Detroit” is dead at the box office. Despite glowing reviews, the story of the 1967 Detroit riots brought apathy– just a $7.7 total after a second weekend– the first in wide release.

What happened? Annapurna Films turns out quality movies and this was no exception. But it seems like a lot of mistakes were made– no stars, for one thing. And then, the timing– right after “Dunkirk,” which is a smash, another serious film. And right in the middle of a hot summer.

Of course, everyone involved wanted to tie “Detroit” into the 50th anniversary of the incident. But “serious” movies like this one require attention and a lot of preparation. The fall and winter are better times generally to get that attention.

“Detroit” also had odd press rollout. No New York premiere. A Detroit premiere and one in Atlanta– those are nice, but not where you capture press attention. So “Detroit” counted on the great reviews. And they didn’t work.

Now what? Bring it back in November for Oscar consideration. For now, however, “Detroit” is gone. Try and see it before it leaves theaters. Bigelow and Mark Boal should never be ignored.

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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