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While Jennifer Lopez’s Hustlers was coming in second to IT Chapter Two with a solid performance over this past weekend, another newcomer had a positively abysmal opening. The Goldfinch opened in eighth place to $2.68 million, one of the worst debuts ever for a movie opening on over 2,500 screens. Now it looks like The Goldfinch could see Warner Bros. and Amazon losing a lot of money.
Warner Bros. is set to lose between $25-$30 million because of The Goldfinch, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The studio ponied up for all of the film’s marketing and distribution costs, and those losses could wind up being even greater. Warner Bros. won’t be suffering alone though, because Amazon is also taking a hit to the bottom line because The Goldfinch failed to take flight.
Amazon Studios co-financed 40% of The Goldfinch and paid $16-$18 million for the exclusive worldwide streaming rights to the John Crowley film. Now Amazon could very well lose that entire investment. The Goldfinch cost $44 million to make before marketing, but when it’s all said and done, after bombing at the box office, the film could lose a total of $40-$50 million between Warner Bros.’ and Amazon’s losses.
How bad those losses ultimately are will depend in part on how well The Goldfinch does overseas. It hasn’t opened in a lot of the bigger territories yet and will continue its rollout throughout September and into October, but the early signs are not super encouraging. Over the weekend, it opened in Russia and 11 other smaller markets, and made only $852,000 in total.
While Warner Bros. and Amazon will be fine, the huge loss on The Goldfinch does not exist in a vacuum. Although Warner Bros. has done well with larger films like IT Chapter Two, other smaller movies like The Kitchen and New Line’s Blinded by the Light have missed the mark at the box office. This financial motivation means that there is a possibility that Warner Bros. might not back as many adult dramas in the future.
The Goldfinch’s failure is interesting, because although an adult drama was never going to have the box office of a blockbuster, this film had a serious potential going in. The film is an adaptation of Donna Tartt’s 2013 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, and it was directed by John Crowley, who previously directed Best Picture nominee Brooklyn. The Goldfinch features a strong cast including Ansel Elgort, Nicole Kidman, Jeffrey Wright, Luke Wilson (who wanted one of his scenes in the movie changed), Sarah Paulson and Finn Wolfhard, and it was lensed by Hollywood heavyweight Roger Deakins of all people.
Having not read the book and just judging by the trailer and the pedigree, The Goldfinch had prestige and awards potential written all over it. So what went wrong? Well, the reviews certainly didn’t help. The Goldfinch premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival to brutal reviews, and it currently sits at 26% on Rotten Tomatoes. Smaller adult dramas have their work cut out for them as it is, but horrible reviews and no buzz basically guarantees they won’t break out at the box office.
The Goldfinch is now playing. Check out our 2019 Release Schedule to see what else is headed to theaters this fall.