Monday Morning Quarterback Part II

By BOP Staff

October 28, 2015

Wait! No one wanted to see this? Crazy talk!

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Kim Hollis: Steve Jobs, the Danny Boyle-directed biopic featuring Michael Fassbender, expanded to 2,493 venues this weekend and earned $7.1 million, well under projections. What do you think of this result? Is it still an Oscar contender?

Edwin Davies: This is not great, and it's hard to figure out just went wrong here. It could be that Universal erred and chose a bad weekend, one saturated with product, or they underestimated how strongly adult audiences would respond to The Martian and Bridge of Spies. It could just be that people aren't as interested in Steve Jobs as filmmakers are, or that the film lacked the wow factor to make it a must see on its first weekend in wide release.

I think it's a mixture of these, but primarily its problem was that the ads didn't do much to make the film stand out like those for The Social Network, another Aaron Sorkin-penned story about a potentially niche story. The ads for Steve Jobs made it look like a pretty standard biopic with little of the crackerjack dialogue people expect from Sorkin, or the energy expected of director Danny Boyle.

As for its Oscar chances, I think they're still relatively strong given the people involved - Boyle and Sorkin are both winners who have been nominated multiple times, as is Kate Winslet, while Fassbender was nominated for 12 Years a Slave and many felt that he should have been nominated for Shame - and the reviews. However, those chances become dimmer if the film doesn't have any legs. It's possible that it will pick up a bit of steam as older moviegoers check it out in the weeks ahead, but without that it could easily get lost in the shuffle.


Ben Gruchow: Last month, Variety published the results of a Piedmont Media Research tracking poll of 3,000 people, to find which films were the most anticipated of the fall. It's an interesting article, if something that you might want to take with a grain of salt (if it's totally accurate in its correlation with grosses, then Mockingjay Part 2 is about to outgross both The Force Awakens and Age of Ultron). Still, though, it's a small grain of salt. In the seventh paragraph of this report, the Variety article gives us the movies that fell toward the low end of the Piedmont tracking system, and they're all titles that have (so far) underperformed or bombed. In decreasing order of anticipation, there is: Pan, Steve Jobs, Burnt, Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, and Jem and the Holograms. I'll be interested in seeing if the third and fourth titles in that list open somewhere between $2 and $7 million, by the way.

Anyway, in the latter part of that article, there's a mention of how anticipation for December's Macbeth actually went down once prospective viewers learned about Michael Fassbender's attachment to it. I think there might be a possibility that some of the reduced gross is attributable to his presence here, too. Just hypothesis.

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