Benedict Cumberbatch, one of the hottest British actors of the year, had a uncharacteristic bomb at the box office with The Fifth Estate.
The drama is based on the events surrounding government secret revelation by the website WikiLeaks and founder Julian Assange.
Cumberbatch (Star Trek: Into Darkness, The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug) stars as Assange, a role for which he wears albino blonde hair and looks startling different than previous roles.
The thespian has been very busy promoting his numerous films this year and in a recent interview, he was asked whether he was concerned that Assange would criticize his performance and the movie in particular.
“The Cumberbitches have got my back,” he told EW, referring to his fan base.
But not even his loyal followers, and he has thousands, could save the film about the hacker and his now infamous site, which also stars Daniel Bruhl (Rush).
The Fifth Estate earned only $1.7 million from 1,769 theaters for the weekend, making it the worst debut for a movie opening in over 1,500 theaters in 2013. Paranoia with Harrison Ford and Liam Hemsworth held the record previously.
To put things in perspective Benedict Cumberbatch’s film, directed by Bill Condon (Twilight: Breaking Dawn), did worse than the Movie 43 which grossed $4.8 million back in January.
Then we had Getaway, the Ethan Hawke/Selena Gomez thriller which took in $4.5 million in August. Arnold Schwarznegger/Sylvester Stallone teamed up for the action flick Escape Plan which bombed badly with $9.8 million, but that is still almost six times more earnings than The Fifth Estate. It was bad.
Harrison Ford must be breathing a sigh of relief!
Cumberbatch is a rising star, and make no mistake, he is a brilliant actor, versatile and controversial. This is by no means a make or break deal for his career. We will see him often on the big and small screens.
However, DreamWorks reportedly spent $26 million to make the movie that earned $969 on average per location and the actor is not the only one to blame.
Why did the film bomb so badly, when it has a good director and cast? Some critics attribute it to the fact that American audiences are simply not interested in the dealings of the whistleblowing website and its founder, even when the US finds itself in the midst of the Edward Snowden scandal, a similar situation concerning national secrets.
Whatever the reasons we strongly doubt that Benedict Cumberbatch will suffer too much in his personal endeavors, after all the has a fan base with a name. He has clearly arrived, though now he has something to prove. That he can carry a movie as a leading man.