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Paramount sticks up for Aronofsky's mother! after bad opening

09.18.2017by: Cody Hamman

mother! Darren Aronofsky Jennifer Lawrence

I didn't make it out to the theatre to see writer/director Darren Aronofsky's horror film mother! this past weekend, and judging by the fact that it opened at #3 with $7.5 million at the domestic box office (with another $6 million coming in from international screenings), there weren't a whole lot of people who were interested in doing so. Many of those who did go see it didn't walk out very happy - negative reactions from audience members have earned mother! an F grade CinemaScore.

mother! was shrouded in secrecy in the build-up to its release. We didn't know much about it beyond the fact that it starred Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Michelle Pfeiffer, Domhnall Gleeson, Ed Harris, and Kristen Wiig and had the following synopsis: 

A couple’s relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence.

Some viewers seem to find it just as mysterious after watching it as they did before going to see it. I've heard the film being bashed for being "too arthouse", and our own Eric Walkuski was left baffled by it. In his 6/10 review he said, "I can't tell if I love it, hate it, admire it, resist it."

With moviegoers unhappy with and/or disinterested in mother!, which had a budget of $30 million, Paramount could just cut and run, but the studio's worldwide president of marketing and distribution Megan Colligan chose to stick up for it with an official statement: 

This movie is very audacious and brave. You are talking about a director at the top of his game, and an actress at the top her game. They made a movie that was intended to be bold. Everyone wants original filmmaking, and everyone celebrates Netflix when they tell a story no one else wants to tell. This is our version. We don’t want all movies to be safe. And it’s okay if some people don’t like it."

It's interesting to hear that Paramount was willing to take a risk with this film, when earlier this year they scrapped the production of a new FRIDAY THE 13TH movie after RINGS failed at the box office. They couldn't take a risk with F13, but they could take a risk for Aronofsky... Voorhees seems the safer option to me. 

When mother! was first announced, Paramount had even scheduled it for the October 13th release date that had belonged to the cancelled FRIDAY THE 13TH. Putting out something original that was aiming at being arty is commendable, but in retrospect maybe Paramount should have just stuck with the slasher franchise. Sure, the FRIDAY THE 13TH producers were moving forward with an atrocious script, I'd rather have no F13 than the one we would have gotten from that mess, but the movie probably still would have had a better opening than $7.5 million.

Extra Tidbit: Did you see mother!?
Source: IndieWire

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