Benedict Cumberbatch knows he has a rabid fan base of Tumblr-obsessed fans. When asked whether he was worried that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange might attack his new drama The Fifth Estate, in which he plays the infamous hacker, Cumberbatch kept his cool: “The Cumberitches have got my back,” he told EW.
But, as it turns out, the Cumberbitches didn’t have his back this weekend — at least not at the box office. The Fifth Estate bombed in its opening weekend with a truly awful $1.7 million from 1,769 theaters, making it the worst debut for a film opening in at least 1,500 theaters this year. (Sorry, Paranoia!) The film, which cost Disney a reported $26 million to produce, earned tepid reviews from critics and could only manage an anemic $969 location average.
Just how bad is that? Well, let’s put this in perspective. Notorious stinker Movie 43 grossed $4.8 million in its opening weekend in January, almost three times as much as The Fifth Estate. Getaway, the ludicrously awful Ethan Hawke/Selena Gomez thriller drove away with $4.5 million in August. Heck, this weekend’s Arnold Schwarznegger/Sylvester Stallone action flick Escape Plan bombed this weekend with $9.8 million — and that’s still almost six times more money than The Fifth Estate made!
Luckily, there is a silver lining for Cumberbatch. His other vehicle, 12 Years a Slave, proved powerful in limited release this weekend, drawing $960,000 from just 19 theaters, which yielded a terrific $50,526 per theater average — not to mention boatloads of early Oscar buzz.