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'The Fifth Estate' Named Worst Weekend Opening Of 2013

Michelle Man |
October 21, 2013 | 4:42 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

The biographical feature film based on Julian Assange and WikiLeaks (The_JIFF/creativecommons)
The biographical feature film based on Julian Assange and WikiLeaks (The_JIFF/creativecommons)
Benedict Cumberbatch's portrayal of the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange bombed terribly this weekend, making only $1.7 million in 1,769 theaters.

Prior to the movie opening, Cumberbatch was confident in the film and his fans for "having his back." However the opening box office has been named the worst weekend opening of 2013 so far. How bad exactly is it?



READ MORE: 'The Fifth Estate' Illustrates Current Challenges In The Digital Era

The Lone Ranger starring Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer (The_JIFF/creativecommons)
The Lone Ranger starring Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer (The_JIFF/creativecommons)
To put things into perspective, here are some movies that flopped unexpectedly considering the media buzz prior to their openings. "The Lone Ranger" from Disney starring Johnny Depp was expected to make great bucks with a budget of more than $215 million, yet it only grossed $29.4 million in its opening weekend.

Sony's "The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones" was expected to be the next "Hunger Games" franchise but ended with a weekend box office of only $9 million. "Getaway" from Warner Bros. with Ethan Hawke and teen pop star Selena Gomez only made $4.5 million in its opening weekend despite the expectations of support from Selena Gomez's large fanbase.

Taking all of these 2013 movie flops into consideration, this puts Cumberbatch's "The Fifth Estate" into perspective having made only $1.7 million.

So what happened? These may have been some reasons why "The Fifth Estate" bombed in box office: 

Benedict Cumberbatch as Julian Assange (The_JIFF/creativecommons)
Benedict Cumberbatch as Julian Assange (The_JIFF/creativecommons)
Prior to the film's opening, Julian Assange stated that he is not supportive of the movie. Benedict Cumberbatch had reached out to him so to further understand his character but Assange turned him down.

Assange then wrote a public letter response saying that the film will portray him in a negative light so meeting Cumberbatch would be a sign of supporting the movie. He thanked Cumberbatch but asserts that the movie is based on distortions and lies:

"I believe that you are a decent person, who would not naturally wish to harm good people in dire situations.You will be used, as a hired gun, to assume the appearance of the truth in order to assassinate it. To present me as someone morally compromised and to place me in a falsified history. To create a work, not of fiction, but of debased truth."

Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock in BBC's adaptation "Sherlock" (whenthesuspenderscomeoff/tumblr)
Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock in BBC's adaptation "Sherlock" (whenthesuspenderscomeoff/tumblr)
Second of all, Disney had high expectations for "The Fifth Estate" and even had hopes of Oscar considerations. However, when it was shown at Toronto Film Festival, critics were not as thrilled.

READ MORE: Film Review: 'The Fifth Estate'

In addition, it received a 40% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes based on critics.  This doesn't provide a very good word-of-mouth incentive for potential audiences. Moreover, many people still ask "Who is Julian Assange?" Most people are not clear or even know what WikiLeaks is or who Julian Assange is.

Last but not least, Benedict Cumberbatch is not yet enough of an A-list actor in Hollywood to carry his own movie. He has proven himself in past works like "Sherlock" and "Star Trek Into The Darkness" but he is still a new Hollywood sensation rather than an A-list actor. Perhaps he will be in the foreseeable future but not now.

Check out the trailer of "The Fifth Estate" below:

Reach Staff Reporter Michelle Man here



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