Monday Morning Quarterback Part III

By BOP Staff

December 4, 2013

History to be made in 3... 2... 1...

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Kim Hollis: The Book Thief, an adaptation of a popular YA novel, earned $4.9 million over three days and $7.9 million from Wednesday through Sunday. It had been considered a potential awards contender ahead of its release, but reviews are middling. What do you think of its opening weekend?

Felix Quinonez: I think it's a bit disappointing. If it had a stronger box office performance it might have at least kept its Oscar chances alive. But now I think it can pretty much kiss its awards hopes goodbye.

Brett Ballard-Beach: It's like The Reader... for kids... I think (with Nazis and slightly more feel-goodish but minus naked Kate Winslet, moral gray areas, and a modern day plot wraparound). Emily Watson aside, I have no interest in this. Stellar reviews would be necessary to put this on Oscar radar and help it connect on a large scale with audiences. Still, this is more than I thought this would have made by this point. Kudos to Fox Searchlight for staying with their plans to expand to a wide release.


Kim Hollis: I believe it did about as well as I'd expect. With so-so reviews and potentially challenging subject matter for the age group, it was never going to be huge unless it had rapturous reviews. The small but devoted followers of the book turned out for it, I'm sure. I think this is about the last we hear of this movie.

Edwin Davies: I'd say that this is a decent result for a film that isn't getting great reviews. It seems like fans of the book are showing up to check it out, but that it isn't really drawing people in from outside of that core group since it falls between two stools; the focus on young protagonists makes it seem too young-skewing for adults, yet the Nazi stuff makes it look too adult for kids. That balance was struck really well by the novel, but I don't think the film - or at least the marketing - is achieving the same effect. I could see it getting some nominations in the technical categories, or even Geoffrey Rush or Emily Watson getting a nomination as a way of filling out the acting categories, but it doesn't seem to have the momentum needed to get any major recognition.

Max Braden: I think that's about the full potential it could have expected to receive. This movie is much more The Reader (or Sarah's Key) than Atonement. Without any big names (and I don't think Rush qualifies, for this kind of material), a movie set in the heart of Nazi drama just isn't going to pick up steam with U.S. audiences. It may have better luck in Europe, though.

David Mumpower: I also believe that the middling reviews caught everyone off-guard. There was an expectation that this would be an instantly beloved movie that would leverage glowing word of mouth into a solid platform performance. Instead, its Thanksgiving week is going to be a significant portion of its box office. It will lose exhibitions to better Oscars contenders as well as the standard holiday fare.

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