Houston, we have a box office problem

Houston, we have a box office problem

From the Moon to the earth in free fall? It is soon to assert it without half measures, but it is clear that the trajectory of «First Man», one of the most awaited films of the year, does not point in the best direction. In his premiere weekend in the United States, the film by Damien Chazelle starring Ryan Gosling, a «biopic» about Neil Armstrong, the first man who set foot on the Moon, only raised $ 16 million. Although it may sound like a lot of "pasta", the reality is that it is a worse start than space tapes like "Gravity" or "The Martian" and it has only been able to place itself in the third place in the ranking of the highest grossing productions of the last end of week. Moreover, «First Man» has not managed to unseat two films that premiered the previous week, «A Star is Born» (which is derived from the Lady Gaga effect) and «Venom», which completed, respectively, a «box» of 28 and 35 million dollars.

In Spain, the thing was not as expected for the new work of the director of "La La Land", the success of a couple of years ago that put the expectations around Chazelle on the Moon and beyond. The film entered the fourth place at the box office, with 900,000 euros. Ahead, "The clock house on the wall", "Smallfoot" and the inevitable "Venom", the new "pitch" of the Marvel factory. In total, «First Man» adds 30 million dollars of worldwide collection, far from the 60 that cost the production. It is very probable that the tape recovers this money, but will it be able to be more than solvent? For now there is no indication that the "biopic" of Neil Armstrong is going to be a phenomenon, and in fact, the proximity of Halloween, with the premieres associated with this seasonal niche, can make their progression significantly slow down.

In Universal they wanted to heal in health and warn that "First Man" is a long-winded film, not one of those that breaks the box office in the first week and then disappears. They are aware that a good sum of nominations to the Oscars can relaunch it and, in principle, with favorable reviews in the United States (not so much in Europe) it is possible to think that Chazelle's film will have a place in the race for the statuettes.

But, Why is this bad start? As always in these things, the public is sovereign and interpreting their decisions is a complicated, if not stolid, job. But there are several interesting points in this regard. First, the coincidence in time with another product of the all-powerful Marvel factory. Perhaps Universal underestimated the power of "Venom", which was released a week earlier, being a lesser-known debuting superhero, but at this point Marvel is more than settled in the hearts of the spectators, who flock to each one of their premieres. Along with them, a special guest, Lady Gaga, who debuted in film as a co-star with Bradley Cooper of "A Star is Born." The charm of this couple has eaten the interest for life and miracles of the first American on the Moon.

And then, and not least, is the political factor (involuntary surely) of «First Man». Since its presentation at the Venice Festival, many noticed a capital omission in the film: the time when Armstrong and Aldrin planted the American flag on the Moon did not appear. The Republicans, starting with Trump, put the cry in the sky and branded the film as "unpatriotic". Even Aldrin himself forgot about forgetting on Twitter. The explanations of Ryan Gosling and Damien Chazelle have not convinced and it is quite possible that in a large part of the American public the notion that "First Man" is not a sufficiently "American" narrative of a fact so incardinated in the patriotic consciousness of the country. That added to the allergy by the evident and thick epic, very of the taste of the public, of a tape that concentrates more in the intimate portrait of the astronaut, is ballasting its starting.

Will "Fist Man" rise? Will it reach the Moon? It seems difficult, but not impossible. As a button shows. «La La Land», the phenomenon of 2016, started its first weekend in the 15th position in the ranking, with only $ 800,000 in the United States. From then on, it grew unstoppably to add up to 446 million dollars worldwide. It had cost only 30. But, of course, at that time the bet of "La La Land", which now seems an obvious success, was very risky: Chazelle only had a film behind him, the tiny "Whiplash", and the musical genre. It was a vestige of the past. Now, «First Man» has high expectations against and it is already known that, often, the more you expect something, the more likely you are to be disappointed.


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