Goldfinch heads for box office crash landing

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The film stars Ansel Elgort in the story of a boy who is taken in by a wealthy family after his mother is killed

The Goldfinch looks likely to become one of cinema history’s biggest flops after making only $2.6m (£2m) at the US box office on its opening weekend.

The film of Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer-winning novel had been expected to make $12m (£9.6m) on 2,542 screens.

That makes it the sixth worst US opening for a film shown on between 2,500 and 3,000 screens since records began in 1982.

It cost $40m (£32m) to make and has received largely poor reviews.

The Goldfinch stars Ansel Elgort as Theo, a young man who turns to art forgery after losing his mother in a freak tragedy.

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Nicole Kidman also stars in The Goldfinch

It also stars Nicole Kidman, Sarah Paulson, Jeffrey Wright and Luke Wilson and is directed by John Crowley.

Initially considered an awards contender, the movie was called “a vapid prestige picture” and “grotesque” by Matt Goldberg in Collider.

“Rather than exploring tragedy and grief in any meaningful or thoughtful way, it offers a vague homily. It seeks to comfort without compassion,” he added.

“A gauzy, bloated slab of Oscar bait” is how the movie was described by Dave Ehrlich in IndieWire.

Benjamin Lee of The Guardian was more lenient, describing it as “neither a rousing success nor an embarrassing failure”.

Jeff Goldstein, president of domestic distribution at Warner Bros, which co-financed the film with Amazon, said the film was not what audiences wanted.

“The audience wasn’t interested in seeing this literary work on screen,” he told Variety.

“There were many things that didn’t work, but the biggest was probably the marketplace.”

The Goldfinch opens in the UK on 27 September.

Worst North American opening weekends to date (between 2,500 and 3,000 cinemas since 1982)

1. Friend Request (2017): $2,002,863

2. Life Itself (2018): $2,123,463

3. Victor Frankenstein (2015): $2,469,341

4. Won’t Back Down (2012): $2,603,370

5. The Rocker (2008): $2,636,048

6. The Goldfinch (2019): $2,679,027

7. Lucky You (2007): $2,710,445

8. Captive State (2019): $3,131,525

9. Father Figures (2017): $3,287,451

10. Hoot (2006): $3,368,197

Figures: Box Office Mojo

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