Maybe Princess Diana is trying to tell us something from the great beyond.
After more hype than a Muhammad Ali boxing match, “Spencer,” the movie about Diana’s time married to Prince Charles, is not a success.
Over its fourth weekend in release, “Spencer” made just $610 per theater in 346 locations. The weekend take was just $211,028.
The theatrical run for “Spencer” is coming to a close now. Originally it played in 996 theaters, went up briefly to 1,200, retreated to 954, and was cut by two thirds this weekend. Its total is now $6.6 million.
Kristen Stewart’s performance as Diana was touted for weeks leading up people actually seeing the film as the one to beat for the Oscars. But with this disappointing reaction by audiences, those odds have probably shifted downwards quite a bit. Coming up fast now is Nicole Kidman as Lucille Ball in “Being the Ricardos,” followed possibly by Frances McDormand in “The Tragedy of Macbeth.” Somewhere on the periphery are Jennifer Hudson in “Respect” and Lady Gaga in “House of Gucci.”
The lack of audience for “Spencer” is not a surprise. Even the Broadway musical about the princess, “Diana: The Musical,” is struggling to stay open in light of terrifyingly negative reviews. In the case of the Pablo Lorrain-directed film, we could tell from film festival audiences that the eccentric storytelling defeated the central performance. People walked out in droves, or simply said they didn’t like it. Vomiting is never a high point in any film, especially when it involves hanging around a toilet.
Five years ago, director Lorrain made a similar movie about Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, called “Jackie” starring Natalie Portman. There was the same hype for Portman and the film. But in the end, “Jackie” made just $13 million. As a tale of the tape, in its fourth week, “Jackie” was well ahead of “Spencer.” The famous First Lady wins in celebrity movies in this category, if that’s some consolation to her.