×

‘Aloha’ Sinks Under Wave of Harsh Reviews With $10 Million

Even a starry cast led by Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone, a counter-programming bid against action-heavy “San Andreas,” a romantic Hawaiian setting and a beloved director weren’t enough to keep “Aloha” afloat in its opening weekend.

Sony’s long-awaited Cameron Crowe romantic comedy, which washed ashore laden with a heavy cargo of bad buzz and brutal reviews, landed in sixth place this weekend with $10 million at 2,816 locations in the U.S.

But Sony distribution chief Rory Bruer said the opening was “within the studio’s expectations,” and pointed to the B+ CinemaScore for the Cooper, Stone and Rachel McAdams starrer as indication that the troubled film could hold well in coming weeks.

“We’re proud of the film,” he said Sunday. “Our very talented cast is great and we believe it will leg out nicely. There are  so many special moments, so it’s very satisfying for audience members.”

Even before the Sony hack, rumblings of trouble began last July when “Aloha,” originally scheduled for a Christmas 2014 opening, was pushed back five months. Originally known by the working title “Deep Tiki,” it made headlines again last winter during the Sony hack, when emails were leaked from then-studio chief Amy Pascal which disparaged the film and its script.

Among the scathing messages from Pascal were, “I’m never starting a movie again when the script is ridiculous. I don’t care how much I love the director and the actors,” and “It never … Not even once … ever works.”

It also came under fire for featuring Hawaiian actors only in supporting roles, and making Stone’s character one-quarter Asian.

The critical drubbing — a bruising 17% score on Rotten Tomatoes — had a significant impact on the initial performance, according to Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with Rentrak.

“I think audiences are always rooting for Cameron Crowe to succeed, but since the heyday of his first five films as director (“Say Anything,” “Singles,” “Jerry Maguire,” “Almost Famous” and “Vanilla Sky”) he has had a rough time finding an audience for his unique vision,” he noted. “Sophisticated moviegoers who are generally the bread and butter target for Crowe. They actually read reviews and are not easily swayed by marketing efforts and in this case the universally negative critical response really hurt the film’s chances.”

Dergarabedian also noted that the PG-13 rated “Aloha,” which explores the relationships between Cooper’s military character and the female stars, may have not been edgy enough to generate much initial traction.

“Romantic comedies in general in the summer are most usually successful if they have an R-rated edge and some sort of over-the-top hook (like last year’s ‘Neighbors’ or even going back 10 years, ‘The Wedding Crashers’) and thus ‘Aloha’ faced an uphill battle heading into the weekend,” he said.

Sony isn’t taking a big financial risk on “Aloha,” which cost a modest $37 million with financing from Regency Enterprises, LStar Capital and RatPac Entertainment.

Crowe’s 2005 romantic drama “Elizabethtown” took in just $52 million worldwide while 2011’s “We Bought a Zoo” was more respectable with $120 million, including $75 million in the U.S. after a $9.4 million opening weekend.

Sony pointed to “We Bought a Zoo” Sunday, noting that it wound up grossing eight times the launch weekend in a show of strong word of mouth.

As for romantic comedies generally, studios have been measured about returning to the genre. Next up is Universal’s Amy Schumer vehicle “Trainwreck” on July 17, followed by Liosngate’s action-comedy “American Ultra,” starring Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart on Aug. 21; Warner’s “How to Be Single” on Feb. 12; and Universal’s “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” on March 26.

The original “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” remains the highest-grossing romcom of all time with $241 million domestically in 2002.

More Film

  • Jonathan Taylor Thomas Ed Asner Elliott

    Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Ed Asner, Elliott Gould Seek SAG-AFTRA Board Seats

    Ed Asner, Elliott Gould and Jonathan Taylor Thomas are seeking SAG-AFTRA national board seats as members of presidential candidate Matthew Modine’s progressive Membership First slate. Asner is the former president of the Screen Actors Guild, serving two terms from 1981 to 1985, and winning five Emmys for his role as Lou Grant and two others [...]

  • Mahershala AliMarvel Studios panel, Comic-Con International,

    Comic-Con: Marvel 'Shock and Awe' Strategy Dominates Twitter Buzz

    Disney’s Marvel Studios handily won the hype trophy from this year’s Comic-Con International San Diego. Marvel Studios — which returned to the 2019 Comic-Con stage with a chock-full Phase 4 slate of announcements — dominated the discussion on Twitter out of the convention, capturing the most buzz for eight of the top 10 movies or [...]

  • Chris Rock - Netflix

    Chris Rock's 'Saw' Reboot Moves Up Five Months to May 2020

    Lionsgate has moved Chris Rock’s upcoming “Saw” reboot forward by five months to May 15, 2020, vacating the pre-Halloween date of Oct. 23, 2020. The studio indicated Monday that it decided to move the untitled “Saw” movie into the summer slot after seeing early footage from the set of the film currently shooting in Toronto. The move [...]

  • Peter Farrelly

    Peter Farrelly to Judge Sun Valley Film Festival's Film Lab Competition

    Sun Valley Film Festival has set “Green Book” director Peter Farrelly as the judge for the sixth annual Film Lab competition. The program, sponsored by Tito’s Handmade Vodka, which is in its sixth year, selects one team of filmmakers to work with the festival to complete their film projects. The director and producer of the [...]

  • The Lion King

    'The Lion King' Dominates, But Is Disney Running Low on Remakes?

    “The Lion King” and its massive $185 million domestic debut proved that audiences have an insatiable appetite for Disney’s remakes and re-imaginings. Despite mixed reviews, moviegoers turned out in force for director Jon Favreau’s hyper-realistic update of the classic cartoon. “The Lion King” broke numerous box office records, including the best start among Disney’s live-action [...]

  • The Fast and the Furious

    'Fast & Furious 9' Production Halted After Stuntman Injured in Fall on Set

    An accident on the set of Universal’s “Fast & Furious 9” in the United Kingdom has left a stuntman in hospital with a serious head injury. Production on the movie has halted at Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden, near London. “We had an injury on the set of ‘FAST 9’ today in Leavesden with one of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content