Hugh Jackman has established himself as one of the most successful actors in the world right now, with successful projects like the X-Men franchise among others. However, his latest film has fallen disastrously short of expectations with a $2 million box office gross over the opening weekend which makes this one of the most significant financial failures in the history of North American cinema for a nationwide release.
Reminiscence, the directorial debut of Lisa Joy, is a new neo-noir film that imagines a world where the terrifying and irreversible effects of climate change can already be felt by humans. Although the film played in over 3000 theatres, it has only grossed around $4.9 million so far despite the fact that it needs to earn $110 million just to break even.
“I don’t know if you can lay it all on consumer’s habits during the pandemic,” said Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst with Comscore. “Even in this marketplace, product is the number one factor. People want to see a good movie. A film has to have a lot of buzz to rise above the fray.”
All the box office trends have led to various experts speculating about the reason for this catastrophic failure. While some have claimed that this is due to the film targeting an older audience, others have cited that Reminiscence’s box office flop is a natural consequence of the pandemic as well as rising concerns about the Delta Variant.
“This temporary hybrid release strategy is susceptible to the ups and downs of the pandemic,” Shawn Robbins, the chief analyst at Box Office Pro, explained. “It goes without saying that certain films without an ‘all-audience’ angle and aimed narrowly at adults over a certain age are in a more challenging spot to succeed commercially until those moviegoers are more comfortable returning to public lifestyles.”
Reminiscence wasn’t just a financial flop, it received poor reviews from some critics as well who panned it for being a lesser version of modern sci-fi masterpieces like Westworld. Overall, the response has been mixed since some strongly insist that Reminiscence has considerable ambition and has only failed because it is too intellectually rich to be a commercial success.
“Older moviegoers — and by ‘older,’ we’re talking about 35 through baby-boomers — have the most to be concerned about their health, so for now they’re erring on the safe side,” commented David A. Gross, who runs consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research. “They’re also more affluent than younger moviegoers, so they have the most comfortable and high-quality home entertainment options. It raises the bar for movies that are less than must-see.”