×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Audiences to Hollywood: We Don’t Care About 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.

More Film

  • Once Upon a Deadpool trailer

    Box Office: 'Once Upon a Deadpool' Earns $1 Million on Wednesday

    Fox’s “Once Upon a Deadpool,” a reimagining of “Deadpool 2,” picked up $1 million from 1,566 theaters during Wednesday previews. In the PG-13 version, the Merc with a Mouth retells the heroic sequel as a bedtime story to Fred Savage a la “Princess Bride.” Because there aren’t clear comps, rival studios and industry analysts weren’t [...]

  • Queen of Scots Hair and Makeup

    'Mary Queen of Scots' Hair, Makeup Artist Gave Substance and Style to Battling Queens

    Jenny Shircore has done the makeup and hair of several queens over the years: Cate Blanchett in “Elizabeth” and “Elizabeth: The Golden Age” (she won an Oscar for the former) and Emily Blunt in “The Young Victoria.”  In fact, she had to be convinced to do it again for Saoirse Ronan’s Queen Mary and Margot Robbie’s [...]

  • Richard E. Grant Variety Facetime Interview

    Richard E. Grant on Working With Melissa McCarthy on 'Can You Ever Forgive Me?'

    Richard E. Grant has been winning kudos for his supporting role in Fox Searchlight’s “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” The film, written by Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty, was directed by Marielle Heller and stars Melissa McCarthy as real-life celebrity biography Lee Israel. Was “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” a fast shoot? Yes, 26 days and [...]

  • WME Veteran Ari Greenburg Promoted to

    WME Veteran Ari Greenburg Promoted to President of Talent Agency

    WME veteran Ari Greenburg, one of the original Endeavor staffers who helped build the talent agency that became an industry powerhouse, has been promoted to president. Greenburg will oversee all daily operations across WME and its offices in Beverly Hills, New York, Nashville, London and Sydney. The promotion recognizes the role that Greenburg has played [...]

  • Alfonso Cuaron Says He Owes 'Roma'

    Alfonso Cuaron Says He Owes 'Roma' in Part to Cannes' Thierry Fremaux

    At a special screening of “Roma” in Paris, Alfonso Cuaron said he owed the film to Cannes artistic director Thierry Fremaux, who encouraged him to return to Mexico to make a movie – and who, ironically, failed to nab the title for Cannes because of the festival’s spat with Netflix. Fremaux was eager to select [...]

  • Forrest Gump

    Guild of Music Supervisors Awards to Honor Joel Sill; King Princess to Perform (EXCLUSIVE)

    The Guild of Music Supervisors has announced that Joel Sill will receive the organization’s Legacy Award for his contribution to music in film. Sill’s body of work includes “Forrest Gump,” “The Goonies,” “Blade Runner,” “The Color Purple” and “My Cousin Vinny.” He will be joined by Spotify’s RISE artist, King Princess, who will be performing as [...]

  • Vice Christian Bale Sam Rockwell Playback

    Listen: Christian Bale and Sam Rockwell on Early Acting Days and Reuniting for 'Vice'

    PLAYBACK is a Variety / iHeartRadio podcast bringing you conversations with the talents behind many of today’s hottest films. New episodes air every Thursday. Oscar-winning actors Christian Bale and Sam Rockwell first met 20 years ago on the Italy-set production of Michael Hoffman’s Shakespeare adaptation “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” With the business in their blood [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content