Like a poorly-wrapped Chipotle burrito filled with brown rice and crunchy avian cartilage, this Monday morning was full of disappointment for a man named Jason Reitman. Reitman, a director and screenwriter who is capable of making great movies (like Juno and Up in the Air), brought a movie called Men Women & Children into this world, and it was swiftly shunned by critics.
This weekend, people who were not critics, the people who actually buy movie tickets, followed suit. The movie did very poorly — so poorly, that a movie being shown on 604 fewer screens out-earned it. Box Office Mojo reported of Friday's numbers:
Jason Reitman's Men, Women & Children expanded nationwide to 608 theaters and earned a horrible $99,000 (yes, that's less than what Birdman earned at four theaters). Based on this paltry per-theater average (it should be less than $600 for the weekend), look for this to disappear quickly from theaters.
Men Women & Children was also outdone by Dear White People, which was only shown in 11 theaters. The movie's final earnings for the entire weekend come in at around $320,000 — the fifth-worst debut ever for a movie shown in at least 600 theaters. Birdman took in $415,000 for the weekend, and Dear White People made $344,000.
Reitman, known for Up in the Air, a smart heart-crusher of a film, and polarizing hits like Juno and Young Adult, seems to be in a bit of a rut. Labor Day, the fugitive love story starring Kate Winslet that you probably didn't see, was also critically panned.
It's unclear what ultimately doomed MW&C. The film does star Netflix darling Adam Sandler, who hasn't starred, produced, or written a good movie in the last five years, but Sandler has been good in films from good directors before (like Paul Thomas Anderson's Punchdrunk Love). What's clear, however, is that this is not the path Reitman wants to be on.