7 Movies That Became Cult Hits Despite Subpar Cinemascore
“The Nice Guys” finished last among new releases over the weekend both at the box office and missing the mark with CinemaScore (the market research company that measures audience reaction). Competition was tough especially since fickle and easily amused modern audiences spend money on what is familiar to them like an Angry Birds movie and a sequel to “Neighbors.”
How was an original movie from a little known director to general audiences going to stand out over branded multiplex entertainment? Audiences have changed over the years. Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe are beloved by audiences and comedy typically draws people in. By all indications, viewers were disappointed. Maybe the critics hyped it up or the pacing lost their interest during the prolonged third act?
Regardless of this setback, I have a big hunch that audiences will discover and embrace “The Nice Guys” during the next few weeks, months, and years. Film Twitter exploded with complaints that audiences rated “The Nice Guys” a not-so-kind B- CinemaScore rating. After watching “The Nice Guys” twice over the weekend, I am confident Shane Black’s witty action comedy will age tremendously well and be a beloved cult classic revisited by many.
Other movies have earned a B- CinemaScore which audiences eventually came around to embracing and garnered respect. Here are a few movies that keep “The Nice Guys” in great company:
Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
Written, directed and starring Mike Myers, the James Bond parody with constant sexual innuendos did decent, but not great, business at the box office. The crowd who showed up weren’t pleased. Only when wider audiences discovered this one on DVD, there was an insatiable appetite to continue the franchise. We ended up with two high grossing sequels.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
This quirky gem rubbed people the wrong way for its abstract moments. Maybe Jim Carrey brought in an audience that wanted more slapstick? Michel Gondry’s direction and Charlie Kaufman’s screenplay was never going to be an easy sell for mainstream audiences so maybe we are lucky with the B- rating. The March 2004 release was nominated for two Academy Awards including Best Actress for Kate Winslet as well as winning Best Original Screenplay.
Fox struggled with marketing of this adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk’s harsh novel. The grim tone turned off opening weekend audiences that were lured by 90’s heart throb Brad Pitt. Plus, unexpected twists endings don’t always work on a first viewing. A commercial and critical let down when initially released in 1999, “Fight Club” is a definitive cult classic and had a significant cultural influence for a generation.
Similar to the odd ball and uncomfortable love story like “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” the sci-fi romance “Her” also won the Best Original Screenplay Oscar and earned a B- CinemaScore. Spike Jonze’s futuristic lonely tale of isolation starring Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson resonated with many, but goes to places not everyone wanted to venture explaining the audience divide.
Paul Thomas Anderson’s ambitious 3-hour all-star ensemble about lost souls in Los Angeles earned critical raves and multiple Oscar nominations but puzzled and even alienated audiences. The auteur filmmaker isn’t in the movie business to make audiences feel good. Like the best of Paul Thomas Anderson, the complex story line and rich characters demanded multiple viewings. An initial reaction for a first time viewing wasn’t going to draw positive results.
Dan Gilroy might have given the world one of Jake Gyllenhaal’s best performance, but audiences weren’t as impressed. The cruel look at the cutthroat business of journalism features gruesome and callous moments that aren’t easy to watch. Also, the ending did no favors winning over the crowd. Though it was released less than two years ago, the Oscar nominated “Nightcrawler” has already succeeded beyond its lackluster opening night reaction.
South Park: Bigger Longer and Uncut
The harsh satire about censorship and bad parenting that mocked Disney musicals initially didn’t translate well from the small to big screen with audiences. R-rated animated content is uncommon for American audiences and the “South Park” movie flawlessly offended many. People should’ve known what they were getting into. “Bigger, Longer and Uncut” pleased cynical and crude fans and is still regarded as a wildly witty comedy.