Audiences to Hollywood: We Don’t Care About WikiLeaks

Fifth Estate Box Office Bomb: WikiLeaks

'Fifth Estate' on track for dismal performance at box office

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange may be one of the most controversial figures in the world yet moviegoers don’t seem all that interested.

The Fifth Estate,” starring Benedict Cumberbatch, looks unlikely to breach the $4 million mark this weekend, which would make it one of the worst DreamWorks debuts of all-time and the second WikiLeaks project to come and go this year without much ado.

Earlier this year, Alex Gibney’s documentary “We Steal Secrets: The WikiLeaks Story” was hailed by critics after premiering at the Sundance Film Festival and is expected to compete in the Oscar race. But the look at Assange’s rise and fall opened quietly in May, earning a modest $158,000 at the box office — not the end of the world for a documentary except that Universal Pictures reportedly spent $2 million to produce it.

As for Bill Condon’s “Fifth Estate,” the forecast is downright abysmal. It’s currently riding a 38% fresh rating on RottenTomatoes, and weak ticket pre-sales suggest the film is headed for a disappointing bow.

“It’s pretty scary at this point,” one analyst said of the pic’s financial course.

Produced for $30 million, the WikiLeaks drama barely cracked sixth place in the U.K. last week ($800,000) and could face difficulties elsewhere.

Co-starring Daniel Bruhl and Laura Linney, “Estate” charts the story of the controversial whistleblowing website and its founder Assange. Pic is marketed and distribbed by Disney.

Condon has repeatedly said in interviews that the film is a complex portrayal of the Wikileaks mastermind rather than a judgement of him or his organization.

“I hope people walk away and go to dinner to talk about it,” he recently told Reuters.

But without a strong marketing hook or clear depiction of Wikileaks , DreamWorks marketers were faced with the arduous task of selling a movie about a reclusive individual, someone the world knows very little about.

Assange, who last week slammed DreamWorks’ “inaccurate” film, has said he hopes the world rejects the Cumberbatch film.

“It does not seek to simplify, clarify or distil the truth, but rather it seeks to bury it,” he recently wrote.

Judging by this week’s box office data, he may get his wish.

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  1. Hobart says:

    Uhm…no. You got it all wrong, mister. It’s:
    Audiences to Hollywood: We care about Wikileaks, we just don’t care about your movie about it!

  2. another hairy kardashian sister says:

    Its just not a story that ever interested the general public. They shouldve kept the budget very low and aimed for an arthouse crowd and possible award buzz. This is not box office smash material at all.

  3. M Grey says:

    I would make a great movie on Lifetime and that is it.

  4. Francesca says:

    I find it an interesting topic but not treated in this way. The movie is superficial, without a clear point of view, and utterly boring. Dear Bill Condon, nobody cares about Daniel Domscheit-Berg’s hurt feelings.

  5. T.W. Li says:

    Julian Assange and Wikileaks were never interesting. The real stories are what Wikileaks released to the public. Buried in that data are half a dozen Zero Dark Thirty’s and at least 10 West Wings. There’s likely to be a good comedy set in the Ecuador’s embassy in London, as well.

  6. Daryle Gardner-Bonneau says:

    I wonder if what’s happening simply reflects the “mood” in the U.S. right now. So many of us are so incensed at Congress, so tired of media manipulation, lies, and “money forever talking” despite the will of the people. We just don’t want to “invest” time in these films, hoping to get at the truth, when we have the sneaky suspicion that all along SOMEONE is attempting to manipulate us in the process – whether it be the filmmakers, the financial backers, the government, or even Assange. Yes….the truth is likely out there….but our chances of really finding it are slim to nil.

  7. Nah, I believe Cumberbatch fans will go to see it just for him and they number in the thousands, so the movie may do alright on the back of that.

  8. The problem with the movie is that it’s clunky and not at all exciting until the third act. Cumberbatch is brilliant, but at the end if the day, who cares to see endless scenes if people typing and watching computer screens?

  9. Mjkbk says:

    Noooooo, I care about Wikileaks. I just don’t give a fig about Julian Assange, nor the infotainment complex fascination with him.

  10. FilmFan says:

    Agree. It needed Assange’s blessing to be successful, as well as an American audience that likes intelligent film vs. one that is dumbed down and now prefers crap like ‘We’re The Millers’ and endless comic book franchises -sigh

  11. Nanny Mo says:

    I think some producer thought “Let’s make a film like ‘Social Network’. That was successful. Let’s see what could we do? How about Wikileaks? It can’t lose!” Art by committee, Yawn! But that sad thing is that they will give these guys more money to make their next flop. Ah, American thinking.

  12. Sally Truth says:

    I am super interested in Wikileaks, but I have no interest in a BS fuctionalization or villainization of Julian Assange.

    If Assange endorsed the movie it would have made many millions more, but it’s been obvious from day one that this film is fiction to harm Wikileaks, thus no profits.

    A great sign for all good people.

  13. sharklasers says:

    I just don’t buy that NeNe hooked up with some scrawny white man.

  14. V.M.L. says:

    It’s not that I don’t care about WikiLeaks. It’s more like the movie is too fictionalized and Cumberbatch looks nothing like Julian Assange.

    • another hairy kardashian sister says:

      lol how many people even know or care what Assange looks like? this is the problem he’s just not known or cared about enough by the GP.

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