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by Peter Knegt
May 7, 2011 4:50 AM
23 Comments
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Friday Box Office: "The Beaver" Bombs In Limited Release

Jodie Foster and Mel Gibson in "The Beaver."

Jodie Foster's long-awaited third directorial effort, "The Beaver," opened in 22 theaters across North America Friday night to dismal box office returns. Starring PR nightmare Mel Gibson as a clinically depressed toy company CEO who finds solace through a beaver hand puppet, the film grossed an estimated $30,000 on its first night of release, averaging just $1,364. That should amount to roughly $100,000-$125,000 over the weekend for distributor Summit Entertainment, with an average of $4,500-$5,500.

To put that into perspective, last month "Atlas Shrugged, Part 1" averaged $5,608 from a significantly wider 299 theaters, while Robert Redford's "The Conspirator" averaged $5,500 from an even wider 707 screens. It's also set to be the worst debut (by far) for a Foster-directed film. In 1991, "Little Man Tate" grossed $230,106 from just 7 theaters in its opening weekend (averaging $32,872), while box office disappointment "Home For The Holidays" grossed $4,007,717 from 1,000 theaters in 1996 (its average of $4,007 rivals "The Beaver" despite it opening on 50 times the screens).

With a budget of $21 million, "The Beaver" was not a costly endeavour and will break even with foreign sales. However, these numbers are not promising and suggest North American audiences are not up for seeing Gibson back on the big screen.

Check back with indieWIRE tomorrow for a full report on the weekend box office Sunday afternoon.

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23 Comments

  • Max | August 22, 2011 7:59 AMReply

    When we Jodi stop defending losers. I admired her so much as a kid, but come on. It's like she loves a challenge and is defying us to forgive Mel. I'm sure she didn't want to abandon him, but how can she, as a gay person, allow his behavior.

  • Ralph | May 16, 2011 2:18 AMReply

    Despite my handle, I am a Jewish female. Part of the reason that I, along with so people, will not see this film is because we do not want to support anyone who has spouted such hateful comments and created such antisemitic works. I have heard comments to the effect "it was the liquor talking, not Mel." BS! Liquor only amplifies what is in a person's heart, not creates it.

    It is a shame that Jodi Foster has supported this man, but hopefully her next work will be something that more people will want to see.

  • Ginger | May 13, 2011 11:58 AMReply

    The Beaver is a small art-house film period - not a blockbuster. Why did the script sit around for so long despite it being so lauded? Because the difficult subject matter was going to have a hard time finding an audience. Kudos for Jodie for going ahead and making the movie, despite knowing no matter what, it was going to be a hard sell.

    Let's compare it's draw to some other smaller art films that also opened and have well known names:

    There Be Dragons, with Charlie Cox, West Bentley, and Dougray Scott - averaged $2,660 per theater.

    Last Night, with Keira Knightley, Sam Worthington, Eva Mendes, and Guillaume Canet, averaged $3,200 per theater.

    Passion Play, with Mickey Rourke and Bill Murray, and Megan Fox averaged $2,000 per theater.

    Hmmm..... looks like Mel and Jodie's movie did just fine. But hey, I guess it's always more fun to twist things around.

  • Debbie | May 10, 2011 4:48 AMReply

    I wouldn't pay a dime to see Mel Gibson in anything he might do now, or in the future. I'm glad this was a flop.

  • BrandonJudell | May 9, 2011 8:28 AMReply

    No matter how good a film is, there is a time when consumers should make a moral choice on whether to support it. At the Berlin Film Festival years ago, Jodie Foster stated she didn't voice her political views when I asked her about Mel Gibson's homophobic comments. When Gibson made his anti-Semitic remarks, Foster vocally defended him. Now we all know about his treatment of women and anti-Black diatribes.

    Harper Lee wrote in "To Kill a Mockingbird": “As you grow older, you'll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don't you forget it - whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, he is trash.”

    Gibson, after his attacks on women, gays, Jews, blacks, and who know what other groups, is trash. And Foster is a hypocrite. Right now we should not divorce their behavior from their "art." Let future generations stomach that task.

  • hamish | May 8, 2011 9:37 AMReply

    I leave in the UK and am confused - I thought the film has had very good reviews ? Mary#1 thinks otherwise , Joe #7 just seems to be mean spirited - get a life Joe ! Or direct a film yourself . The interesting thing that came up in two posts was that the trailer was crap , that can cause a whole world of pain to a movie

  • terry maloney | May 8, 2011 9:14 AMReply

    Gibson the racist anti Semitic wife beater loses his once massive support base..wow..big surprise

  • jay | May 8, 2011 6:58 AMReply

    People want mindless fun. Thor was gonna top no matter what. Beaver was too high concept

  • blow | May 8, 2011 6:17 AMReply

    you anti-Gibson idiots are absolutely pathetic... dumb sheep bah bah bah

  • mary | May 8, 2011 5:36 AMReply

    "The Beaver" currently holds 59 score metacritic.com; it is not good for a platform release.

    http://www.metacritic.com/movie/the-beaver

  • Steve | May 8, 2011 4:28 AMReply

    "these numbers are not promising and suggest North American audiences are not up for seeing Gibson back on the big screen"

    Look, I realize it's currency in some circles to trash Mel Gibson, but that is an absolutely ridiculous assertion. Your bias is showing. This is a niche-type film in limited release with very little marketing behind it. Put Gibson in a major thriller or date movie and watch what happens.

  • mary | May 8, 2011 2:57 AMReply

    In the US, 59 score in metacritic.com may be okay for a wide-release movie, but it is not good enough for a platform-release movie (like "The Beaver").

    http://www.metacritic.com/movie/the-beaver

  • Robert C | May 8, 2011 2:54 AMReply

    The reviews are pretty decent. But its interesting how they decline in rating with the liberal tendencies of the media outlet hosting the review. The audience mebers offering critiques were genrally 10's except for the two Mel haters in the group who ignored valid criticism and simply pro-offered Zero's based on the same type of generic hatred they criticize Gibson for affecting. All in all it seems that most intelligent film afficiandos will give this film a watch based on the sheer talent of its' two powerful driving talents.

  • Tamra | May 8, 2011 2:06 AMReply

    Foster and other critics complained that the trailer does not do a good job of representing the film at all. And that it didn't capture the film's dark and light moments correctly. You really can't judge a film by a trailer. Especially one like this that is so difficult to market.

  • Cindy | May 8, 2011 1:28 AMReply

    I don't think the low numbers have anything to do with Mel Gibson. It has to do with the odd
    script and depressing sound of the movie. The title of the movie is not helpful.
    I am sure next movie Jodi makes will be more mainstream. Having said that when it comes out on DVD I might rent it.

  • Tom | May 8, 2011 1:11 AMReply

    The Beaver actually has been getting GREAT reviews and is a great film read reviews

    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/beaver-film-review-168589

    http://www.npr.org/2011/05/05/135836527/the-beaver-working-on-issues-with-a-furry-friend

    http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/movies/2011/05/06/2011-05-06_the_beaver_review_mel_gibson_delivers_in_this_oddlyengrossing_offkilter_drama.html

  • Joe Melnick | May 7, 2011 12:16 PMReply

    For whom was this 'long-awaited'? Foster's two previous efforts were unsuccessful and I can't imagine anyone was sitting around wondering when she was going to bore us again. Add in the Gibson factor (Charlie Sheen was unavailable) and that's quite the filmography.

  • ELBSeattle | May 7, 2011 10:49 AMReply

    I saw the trailer for The Beaver twice in theaters. Both times the audience was laughing out loud at how awful the movie looks. I don't know who convinced Jodi Foster to take on Mel Gibson. This might have worked with Steve Carrell or Phillip Seymour Hoffman. But from what I can see this is an old rehash of the hackneyed 'good man goes bad, loses family, tries to win family back' story. Even the gestures in the trailers looked tired and shopworn. I have no interest in seeing this. I hope Jodi can bounce back from what looks like a massive misstep in her luminous career.

  • Stephen | May 7, 2011 10:17 AMReply

    And if it does you will love the fact that it fails.

  • RogerCfromSD | May 7, 2011 9:18 AMReply

    I'm going to watch it. I like the premise and Gibson can pull it off.

  • WinsomeLady | May 7, 2011 9:14 AMReply

    This is a small film with a small budget, mostly paid for by foreign pre-sales. It was never meant to be a blockbuster. The reviews have been mixed, but mostly positive. I plan to see - but it's not playing in my area during its limited release. They should have kept the release date in March. Dumb. If it comes to my city, I will still pay to see it though. Sounds like Gibson and the others did a good job.

  • Tamra | May 7, 2011 7:20 AMReply

    The budget was already covered in foreign sales anyway. People are going to get carried away with the "flop" and "bomb" headlines because of Mel Gibson when it's not like this was a commercial film anyway, taking away the Gibson factor.

  • mary | May 7, 2011 6:39 AMReply

    The reviews of “The Beaver" are not generally positive, Summit should knew it and open the film in few hundreds theaters (instead of only 22 theaters), because platform release wouldn't work for a mixed reviewed niche film.

    Summit almost exclusively hung the marketing on Mel Gibson, and it may be a mistake. Why Summit didn't do better job to use the star powers Jodie Foster and Jennifer Lawrence to sell this film? A Mel Gibson-starrer may not be attractive enough, but more people may want to see Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster and Jennifer Lawrence starring in a film together.

    (In the past, Summit smartly gave Mary-Louise Parker a more significant position on the marketing campaign of "Red", even though she was actually billed over by Karl Urban on the film's credit)
    http://www.impawards.com/2010/red_ver7_xlg.html