Not even a star-studded cast could save “London Fields” from pushing daisies at the box office.
The long-delayed mystery drama — starring Amber Heard, Billy Bob Thornton, Jim Sturgess, Johnny Depp, and Cara Delevingne — brought in a dismal $116,470 when it opened in 613 North American theaters. That means each venue sold just $190 worth of tickets. In other words, it was the second worst debut in recent history for a wide release (classified as any movie playing on over 600 screens) behind just “Proud American,” which launched with $96,076 in 2008, according to Box Office Mojo.
“London Fields” certainly had a tumultuous journey to the big screen, one that was plagued with a number of legal issues. Mathew Cullen directed the film, which was based on the 1989 dystopian novel of the same name by Martin Amis. It follows a terminally ill author suffering from writer’s block. The movie was originally set to premiere at the 2015 Toronto Film Festival, but it was pulled from screening after Cullen sued producers Chris Hanley and Jordan Gertner. Two months later, the producers countersued Cullin, accusing him of breaching his contract and going over his $8 million budget. The producers also sued Heard for $10 million for breach of contract, accusing her of sabotaging the project. She countersued, alleging that the producers of violated her nudity agreement. Heard’s settlement was reached in September, and GVN Releasing came on board to distribute the film. Cullin’s suit has yet to be resolved.
To cap off off a record-low box office showing, “London Fields” was savaged by critics, and it now holds an abysmal 0% on Rotten Tomatoes. Curiously, the few moviegoers who managed to see the film propelled its audience score to 77%. The New York Times called it “quite simply, horrendous — a trashy, tortured misfire from beginning to end,” while Variety’s Andrew Barker said the novel “proves even more unadaptable than expected.”