There is a great deal of pride in the city of Boston. More than just being overly passionate about local sports teams, people who grew up or live in the Massachusetts capital recognize that there is a tremendous history behind the City On A Hill, and regularly take opportunity to celebrate it. One such example is the new film Black Mass. The film admittedly tells a dark part of Boston's past, but that hasn't stopped Bostonians from buying tickets in droves.
Variety has published their box office report from this past weekend, and while the numbers show that Black Mass opened at number two around the country (behind The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials), they also show that the film was an absolutely massive hit in and around Boston. According to the stats, residents of the Massachusetts city were responsible for about 10 percent - or approximately $2.3 million - of the movie's $23.4 million take nationwide the past three days.
Given that Boston is a populated but mid-sized city, these numbers are impressive - but even more so when you compare the number to weekends that don't have a big Boston-based film released. The trade report says that Bostonians are generally only responsible for about 2.7 percent of a domestic total - and the studio says that Black Mass' figures over-indexed by 280 percent.
Need more proof that Boston residents were more interested than anyone in seeing Johnny Depp play Whitey Bulger? Well, Warner Bros. also says that of the theaters showing Black Mass, three of the top six were located in and around the feature's featured city. So if you live in the area and found it difficult to find a screening, now you know exactly why.
As alluded to earlier, what makes this situation a little extra weird is that Black Mass doesn't really paint Boston and its history in the best light. After all, the basic story is about how a psychotic, murderous gangster managed to manipulate the FBI into letting him take over every aspect of Boston crime and corruption. It's not as though the film glamorizes any aspect of the subject matter, but it does show a very dark side of the town's past as well as some of the good old fashioned incompetence trying to fix everything behind the scenes. I guess when you take pride in something, however, that means taking the good with the bad, and that's why Bostonians wanted to see Whitey Bulger's story on the big screen.
Speaking on a personal note, I lived in Boston for many years, and found myself drawn to my local theater this weekend for a screening of Black Mass - so I definitely understand the allure. Any of you find yourself in the same position this weekend?