Blame the ripped from the too recent headlines plot or a trailer that painted Julian Assange as a free speech hero.
Either way, after the new WikiLeaks feature The Fifth Estate bombed in the U.K. it did the same in the U.S. this weekend.
Granted, the film starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the leak-happy anti-hero, only hit 1,750 movie screens. That’s a little more than half what most mainstream film releases receive. Still, director Bill Condon’s take on the dawn of WikiLeaks snared only $1.7 million during its debut.
The film appeared to have genuine Oscar buzz a few weeks back, but an initial wave of negative reviews put an end to such talk. Now, it could go down as the season’s biggest box office disappointment.
The news was equally grim for ’80s action stars Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger. The duo teamed up for the action-packed Escape Plan, but audiences shrugged their collective shoulders for a puny $9.5 million haul.
The weekend’s big winner, once more, was Gravity which held on to the top spot for a third consecutive week with $31.5 million in ticket sales. Carrie, the remake of Brian De Palma’s horror classic, underwhelmed with a $15.5 million take despite opening during Halloween season.