Sunday, May 19, 2024

“Jojo Rabbit” Box Office Struggling as Word of Mouth Spreads, New Yorker Calls it “The world’s unfunniest comedy made in pursuit of success”


“Jojo Rabbit” is headed for the dust bin of movie history if early box office numbers are any indication.

Over the last four days, the extremely wrong “satire about the Nazis and Hitler” has lost audience in the five theaters that are saddled with it.

On Tuesday (yesterday) “Jojo Rabbit” was the only new movie to lose audience from the previous day. Monday and Tuesday, especially, are big movie nights for adults. On Tuesday, when everything else was up with big numbers (Joker up 39%, even Gemini Man was up 62%) “Jojo” was down by 1%. By contrast, “The Lighthouse,” with Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson– in black and white, grim, art house, in three more theaters–was up by 13%.

That no one who sees “Jojo Rabbit” would recommend it is not a surprise. But my guess is those who do see it tell their friends to forget it. Whatever director Taika Waititi had in mind went very wrong. To any Jewish audience, this movie is anti-Semitic. I said that at the Toronto Film Festival, and I’ll stick with it. No one wants to sit through an hour or more of “Jews are bad” (and I’m putting this mildly) and then get the Anne Frank story.

On top of that, sensible, serious reviewers are weighing in. Richard Brody says in The New Yorker that “Jojo Rabbit” is “the world’s unfunniest comedy made in pursuit of success.”

It’s not just Waititi misses the mark on satire, or completely misunderstood “The Producers.” At a time when hate crimes are up, anti-Semitic attacks have increased, and there is no guidance from our leaders– particularly Donald Trump — in denouncing these attacks, “Jojo Rabbit” is a recipe for trouble. I can’t imagine audiences enjoying its message. As it is, there were walkouts at the Hamptons Film Festival. And, now from the look of things, there won’t be walk-ins.

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.

Read more

In Other News