There’s been a lot of buzz in recent weeks about how Hollywood executives are blaming Rotten Tomatoes for their lackluster summer box office returns. In the case of Jennifer Lawrence’s new film, mother!, however, it would appear that word-of-mouth was responsible for its downfall.
The film, from acclaimed director Darren Aronofsky, has earned a respectable 68% approval rating from critics, making it a “Fresh” pick on the Rotten Tomatoes website.
Audiences, on the other hand, have been far less kind: polling service CinemaScore reports that mother! has earned a very rare “F” rating from moviegoers.
If you’re not familiar with CinemaScore, they’re the company that passes out survey cards to audience members on opening day and then collects their opinions when the film has ended.
Their results are useful to studios in predicting a film’s future success and tracking what may have gone right or wrong in the film’s marketing.
With that said, audiences tend to be far more forgiving than critics, which is why poorly-received films like the Transformers franchise continue to make big bucks at the box office.
Only a handful of films have earned an “F” rating from CinemaScore, including Steven Soderbergh’s Solaris and William Friedkin’s Bug, and it’s become something of a badge of honor.
The poor reception for mother! has translated to the box office, as well, where the film was absolutely trounced by the horror film It, now in its second week.
It has now earned $218 million so far, making it the highest-grossing September release ever, besting a record held since 1984 by the film Crocodile Dundee.
Meanwhile, mother! brought in a paltry $7.5 million during its opening weekend, falling behind both It and fellow new release, American Assassin. Nonetheless, mother! only cost $30 million to produce, so it could make up its costs in the long run, especially if it encounters an awards season resurgence in the spring.