SUNDAY AM: “Stillwater” was deep sixed by Amanda Knox. Total weekend, four days incl. Thurs previews, came to $5.1 million. Terrible. This is such a good film. Let’s not let it be ‘cancelled.’
SATURDAY: “Stillwater” struggled in its opening night at the box office. On Friday. the Tom McCarthy directed film starring Matt Damon took in just $1.560 million. Adding in Thursday’s previews, the total is $1,840,000 for the official “opening.”
The movie is in wide release. Not 4,000 theaters like a Disney film. But a healthy 2,500+.
With a huge opening at Cannes, and very positive reviews, “Stillwater” is pitched as an Oscar possible movie. The cognoscenti should love it. I did. It’s “our” kind of movie made for smart adults.
But that box office number is not promising. And one reason it’s not as high as it should be is Amanda Knox.
The movie is about a conservative Trump-like father from Oklahoma whose 20ish daughter is in a French prison for killing her roommate. Sound familiar? That’s because “Stillwater” is ripped from the headlines of Amanda Knox, convicted in real life of killing her Italian roommate. The case was overturned on appeal and she was freed.
On the night before the film’s opening, Knox posted a long thread on Twitter railing against the movie and the appropriation of her story. Now this morning The Atlantic magazine has published a version of that thread under her byline. It’s basically suggesting people to boycott the movie without using that word. It’s designed to warn audiences away.
But is that right? All 25 years of Dick Wolf’s “Law & Order” shows are “ripped from the headlines.” So are dozens, if not hundreds, of much awarded highly regarded movies, plays, and so on. McCarthy took a kernel of a story and refashioned it into fiction. It’s a well worn tradition in dramaturgy. Shakespeare wasn’t the first to do it, but he was the first most popular. If Amanda Knox can stop “Stillwater,” then Joan Rivers’ estate can put an end to “Mrs. Maisel” and to “Hacks.” It just doesn’t work that way.
So go see “Stillwater” this weekend, and enjoy it for what it is, not to mention Matt Damon’s tremendous performance. As for Amanda Knox, she has a point, we get it, but she can make her own movie if she likes. That is how it works.