Audience hatred for new Brad Pitt movie unjustified

Reported by: James Eppler
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Updated: 12/03/2012 11:06 am

On Twitter: @JamesEppler

Brad Pitt's new crime drama called "Killing Them Softly" was a flop at the box office in its opening weekend, and apparently an even bigger disaster with those who went to see it. It didn't manage to crack the top five at the box office up against "Twilight," James Bond and other huge releases. But you'd at least expect a movie headlined by Pitt to perform better than seventh place.

On top of that, the market research company CinemaScore reports audiences polled gave the movie a grade of "F." That's nearly unheard of. These are people who were at the movie opening day, were apparently looking forward to seeing it, and absolutely hated it.

"Killing Them Softly" is only the eighth movie to ever get that grade in the CinemaScore poll. It stands with:

1. "Solaris"
2. "Bug"
3. "Wolf Creek"
4. "Darkness"
5. "The Box"
6. "Silent House"
7. "The Devil Inside"

Of that list, I actually enjoyed "Bug" and "The Box," and I'm told I should give "Solaris" another chance by movie fans who I respect. I also really liked "Killing Them Softly" and you can watch my review of it here.

I can see why it wouldn't necessarily be a crowd-pleaser. It was the same story with Pitt's last movie with writer/director Andrew Dominik called "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford." I thought that movie was amazing and I love it, but not many people agree with me. "Killing Them Softly," like "Jesse James," is also slow-paced, talky and artsy. I get the fact that's not everyone's cup of tea.

But an F? Really?

The elitist in me says there's just no accounting for the taste of the masses - how else do TV shows like "Two and a Half Men" or books and movies like the "Twilight" series survive?

But we have to remember that not everyone approaches entertainment with the desire to be challenged or experience new ideas or methods of creating art. They just want to veg out and enjoy. And that's okay. Judging from the top grossing movies of the year so far, I think you could argue just about all of them fit into that category:

1. "The Avengers" $1.5 Billion (worldwide)
2. "The Dark Knight Rises" $1.05 Billion
3. "Ice Age: Continental Drift" $874 Million
4. "Skyfall" $869 Million
5. "The Amazing Spider-Man" $752 Million
6. "Madagascar 3" $740 Million
7. "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn 2" $702 Million
8. "The Hunger Games" $686 Million
9. "Men in Black 3" $624 Million
10. "Brave" $535 Million

Perhaps "Killing Them Softly" only looks like more of a failure than it actually is. The seven million dollars it made opening weekend is almost half of the 15 million is cost to produce. It was marketed like a big studio action movie, but plays more like an indie drama.

So I can understand audiences not connecting with it entirely. But an F? A failure? Hardly.


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