Rob Reiner’s ‘Shock and Awe’ Bombs with $41,000 Opening Weekend

Rob Reiner and James Marsden in Shock and Awe ( Castle Rock Entertainment, 2017)
Castle Rock Entertainment

Director Rob Reiner’s latest film Shock and Awe grossed a meager $41,000 in its opening weekend after critics and audiences ripped its predictable storyline.

Figures from Box Office Mojo indicate the film grossed $41,000 across 100 cinemas, an average of just $410 per theater and placing it as the 34th most popular film of the weekend. Some of the weekend’s most successful films included Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation ($44,100,000), Dwayne Johnson’s Skyscraper ($25,485,000), and Incredibles 2 ($16,220,000).

The film, which is “based on the true events of Knight Ridder journalists who were the only ones who ‘got it right’ in the lead-up to the 2003 Iraq War when they questioned the true nature of the Bush White House’s justification for the conflict,” was disparaged by both critics and audiences alike.

According to Rotten Tomatoes, the movie has an average critic score of 36 percent, while just 46 percent of viewer said they liked it. This, despite boasting a solid cast that includes Jessica Biel, James Marsden, Milla Jovovich, Woody Harrelson, Oscar-winner Tommy Lee Jones, Reiner, and Richard Schiff.

“For all that, Shock and Awe (which was made available on demand prior to its theatrical release) is a slim, at-times too-obvious portrayal of an important story, as well as the fundamental calling of journalism when it comes to holding the powerful to account,” wrote CNN film critic Bryan Lowry.

“By that measure, it’s an earnest but not particularly awe-inspiring as a movie, and even as a treatise on reporters doggedly pursuing the truth in the face of obfuscation and denials, nor is it especially shocking,” Lowry continued.

Meanwhile, Emily Yoshida of New York magazine contended that the “problem isn’t Reiner taking dramatic liberties with the facts, it’s that his toolbox for doing so hasn’t changed since the mid-’90s.”

Reiner has previously claimed the film serves as a reminder for the importance of truth at a time of intense political division.

“I couldn’t believe that twice in my lifetime we were sending kids to war based on lies,” he said of the Iraq and Vietnam wars. “We ask our leaders to not send our kids into harm’s way unless they have a real rationale for doing that.”

On Friday, Reiner took to Twitter to declare that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s latest indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officers for hacking during the 2016 campaign makes it “crystal clear that the Trump campaign conspired with Russia in the attack on our Democracy.”

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