The Jodie Foster directed film The Beaver starring rant king Mel Gibson is testing the theory that there is no such thing as bad publicity.
To be the first film featuring the Academy Award winning actor and long standing box office draw since his audio recorded melt downs, it was common opinion that ticket sales would be good if not great for at least the initial release. This was certainly not the case as The Hollywood Reporter has rounded up the film’s limited release numbers and the results are far from encouraging.
The film opened over the weekend in 22 top markets grossing a mere $104,000 equating to a $4,745 per screen average. To put that number into context the film’s distributor, Summit, was targeting a per screen number somewhere in the $15,000 to $18,000 range.
Foster also stars in the film and has been promoting it just about as hard as you can. In the process she frequently backed Gibson but during a recent appearance on Letterman the actress retreated somewhat from that position. David asked if she could defend his (Gibson’s) actions in regards to the tyrannical rants and she flatly replied, “No.”
Summit is digging their heels in claiming that it isn’t necessarily the Mel factor but that the concept of the film, a troubled man who seeks to recoup himself with the assistance of a Beaver puppet, is just a tough sell. I can see that argument but I have to believe that if the unavoidable audio recording of Gibson hadn’t surfaced that a film starring Jodie Foster and Mel Gibson would show better than it has so far.
Over at Metacritic the film has received mixed to fair reviews with a composite score of 59 out of 100.