CinemaScore is one of the factors studios use to judge how successful a film will become at the box office. Unlike Rotten Tomatoes, which calculates a rating based on movie critic reviews, CinemaScore comes straight from the opinion of the average moviegoer. Viewers are surveyed on opening day how they feel about a movie, giving a score of A+ to F. Most movies get either A or B, but in the almost 40 years that CinemaScore has existed, only 12 movies have ever gotten an F grade. That number increased by one with the release of mother! last weekend. The movie has been incredibly divisive on all fronts, and while it's gotten the worst score possible from audiences, it's not quite an accurate label.
Actually, a few of the F scored movies are not as bad as their rare ranking would imply. You'd think a movie would have to be a real stinking pile to get an F (and some of them are) but some of them are just... kind of bad, and sort of defensible. It's hard to say what exactly qualifies for an F, but the trend seems to be that it's either: A) a polarizing horror movie; B) had a terrible ending, or; C) was so incredibly off-putting that it upsets everyone who sees it. True, none of these seven movies are particularly good, but F? Let's try C-.
Let's get the most recent addition to the fabled F Halls out of the way first. The film mother! is doing the rounds right now for a lot of reasons. The Darren Aronofsky film might just be the most divisive movie of the year. Even among film critics, there is no clear consensus of the movie. Ask any three people what the movie is actually about and you'll get three different answers. It's an unsettling affair that drills the viewer relentlessly and not even the likability of Jennifer Lawrence can entirely save it. Mother! at least has the distinction of being a thoughtful topic of conversation and a genuine piece of cinema. Can a film really be an F when it can be equally argued to a masterpiece or a mess?
Would you push a button to receive $1 million, but somewhere in the world, someone you don't know dies? WOULD YOU?! That's the question at the heart of The Box, a 2009 thriller starring Cameron Diaz. Evidently, the answer was not entertaining, because audiences hated this movie when it released. This is likely to do with the film's ending, which is a pretty big downer. Plus, the confusing and vague nature of the purpose behind the button and why this is happening at all does not make for a rewarding experience. But the film isn't terrible, just blatantly average. At least it poses an interesting ethics question to debate over the dinner table.