‘London Fields’ Had the Second Worst Box Office Opening in History, and Its Author and Director Are Not Surprised

The Amber Heard-starring adaptation of Martin Amis’ 1989 novel is one of the worst critical and box office bombs ever.
"London Fields"
"London Fields"

London Fields” opened in 613 North American theaters on October 26, over three years after it first premiered at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival, and it struggled to find an audience. The film, based on Martin Amis’ 1989 novel of the same name, grossed only $116,470 during its opening weekend, which results in a dismal $190 per-theater-average. The numbers make “London Fields” the second worst box office opening for a wide release (a film opening on over 600 screens).

Amis reacted to the film’s historic bad box office in an interview with The Guardian. When asked about the movie’s poor reception, Amis said he was not surprised. “The film is rather confusing as it opens,” he said, “and it could’ve done with a lot more clarity in its first half or so. That’s all I can say. I mean, I never thought it would be a popular film.”

“London Films” stars Amber Heard as the seductress Nicola Six, who discovers she’ll be murdered on her 35th birthday and sets out to find the killer. The film was notoriously bogged down in legal battles over the last three years. Director Mathew Cullen originally filed a lawsuit against producers Christopher Hanley and Jordan Gertner for taking away final cut privileges and failing to pay him, but the duo fired back by suing Heard for $10 million for not “complying with her clear-cut contractual obligations.”

The legal disputes were settled earlier in September, with distributor GVN Releasing coming on board to release the film this month. Reviews for “London Fields” were as abysmal as its box office, with The New York Times calling it “quite simply, horrendous — a trashy, tortured misfire from beginning to end.” The movie boasts a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes, to which Cullen had this to say: “I’ve read the reviews. I agree with them.”

While Amis wasn’t surprised by the box office, he did at least commend the film for being true to the book. “I thought the central relationship was moving, between Amber Heard and Billy Bob Thornton, both very strong actors,” he said. “That’s the kernel of the book, and same with the film.”

“London Fields” is now playing in theaters.

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