The pandemic claims another victim today.
Will Smith’s “King Richard” is lost most of its theaters. After a month in release, “King Richard” is wrapping up its run in movie houses with just about $15 million in grosses. It’s Will Smith’s lowest grossing movie ever.
No one knows for sure why this happened. Was it the film’s availablity on HBO Max? No one knows because HBO Max doesn’t give numbers and they haven’t once bragged about viewership for this film.
Was it the subject matter? It shouldn’t have been. Richard Williams is the father of Serena and Venus, he put them on the map. Their story is compelling. The tennis in the movie is terrific.
The acting can’t be questioned. Smith is on his way to an Oscar nomination. So is Aunjanue Ellis. There may be other nominations, too. And the marketing/PR: couldn’t have been better.
But skepticism about going to theaters, coupled with apathy, did them in. And this was while Will Smith was fairly present in the public eye. He had a memoir out, “Will,” and a NetGeo TV series. He was all over the news, it seemed, every day.
Nevertheless, “King Richard” did worse than some real Smith stinkers, like “Collateral Beauty” and “Gemini Man.” Now “King Richard” will sit in 207 theaters this weekend and drain out. For Serena and Venus, it’s a rare loss. But who knows? Maybe some Oscar nods– and wins– will give it life down the road.