It’s hard to please the fans, especially when you want to aim for a film with a massive appeal to a far and wide swath of them. But somehow, Fox seems to have pulled it off this weekend, and get this: it’s not a comic book movie or an existing IP that did the trick. It was director James Mangold’s historical biopic Ford v Ferrari that landed this feat, as three major fan scores on the internet seem to signal this film is one hell of a crowd pleaser.
As of today, the movie has an A+ rating on CinemaScore, a 99% verified audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes (which isn’t far from the 92% critic’s score,) and an 8.2 out of 10 on IMDb’s publicly aggregated score. You’ll have to excuse the surprise, but in an era where what the definition of what constitutes as “cinema” is so hotly debated, it’s rare that such a consensus can be had. And yet Ford v Ferrari managed to get the public, and critics, to vote with resounding confidence.
This is hopefully a good sign of the Fox film’s health at the box office, considering that Ford v Ferrari and Ad Astra are two vitally important films to the studio’s performance. Both films carry a decent sized budget on their backs, with Ford v Ferrari taking on an almost $100 million price tag during production. Initial reports had the film starting out at a modest $2.1 million showing in Thursday previews, and the estimates for the weekend in total look to be in the $29 million range.
Here’s the fun part, though. While there will be a healthy competition with Frozen II, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, and 21 Bridges all opening in the next week, there’s a chance that Ford v Ferrari could show some power under the hood with a slow but steady run in the next couple of weeks. Which feels like a more powerful prospect when you see such amazing fan scores coming out of the first days of release alone.
This sort of reaction could spark a hugely positive word of mouth, as not only could younger audiences be drawn in by star power and excitement, but older moviegoers could fondly relive a piece of history they lived through in their day and age. It may not have the same modest budget as Downton Abbey, but it might have the longevity, considering the wide stripe of audience members both films feel like they bring to the box office.
Even if that doesn’t totally work as a strategy on the domestic front, the greatest hope for the Christian Bale/Matt Damon starring vehicle might be in the international release of the film. Centering around Carroll Shelby and Ken Miles’ attempted conquest of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966, the international racing event is sure to have its fans across the globe. So Ford v Ferrari’s retelling of that history, under the slightly different title of Le Mans ’66, might be set to rake in the bigger bucks throughout the rest of the world. In which case, we might see these scores differ a bit, hopefully seeing a change for the better.
But even if Ford v Ferrari maintains the scores we showed you above, that’s still extremely impressive. If you want to see what the fuss is all about, shift into gear this weekend and head to your local theater to see it for yourself.