I'm a little gun-shy about proclaiming Green Book fully dead -- last year, I thought Darkest Hour was on its way to bust-hood, and it somewhat defied gravity, lasting at much higher levels than films usually do in this era. And don't forget The Greatest Showman.
But...I, too, was shocked by how low the average was in so few theatres. I was expecting something like $40-50K per. This is a film whose selling point is that audiences are going to fall head over heels in love with it, and a dud start like this kicks that narrative right in the ass. Mark Harris tweeted that, usually, when the predictor crowd is way more bullish on a movie than critics, audiences tend to validate the predictors. This is a rare case where they're not doing it.
In fact, I've been meaning to post about this for a day or two, but haven't found time: the Gurus of Gold have Green Book and A Star is Born as the top two contenders for the best picture prize. My reaction to that was, if the competition is down to a third remake of an 80-year old movie and a film with a 70 Metacritic score, either it's one of the worst years in memory, or these Gurus don't have a clue what they're talking about. I realize it's really late in the year, and all the most prominent alternative possibilities have serious handicaps (Roma too arty/subtitled, The Favourite a period piece and a bit out-there, First Man a box-office flare-out -- don't know about If Beale Street Could Talk, but it feels iffy, as well), but there's got to be something else to compete with those two. (I swear, I was ready to say, Don't sleep on the possibility of either VIce or The Mule swooping in and taking command -- and now, tonight, the trades are reporting significant enthusiasm for Vice. McKay might win the whole match this year, after competing heavily last time out.)
Like Sabin, I've been lackluster in my moviegoing this year, at least to some extent because the election was roughly 1000 times more important to me...but also because what's on offer hasn't been that inspiring. BJ is the only one of us to have seen the majority of contenders, so maybe he can confirm or contradict me on this: it seems to me this year represents a huge comedown from last year. Last year, I could cite multiple movies I saw as plausible Best PIcture winners (Three Billboards, Shape of Water, Lady Bird, Dunkirk), and others were making arguments for Get Out and The Post. (This is not even to mention fine work like Phantom Thread or Call Me by Your Name, which were outside the Academy wheelhouse but would have been solid choices.) This year seems almost the opposite -- every single contender has more drawbacks than positives in terms of winning a consensus prize.
Let me add that I saw Widows on Friday and enjoyed it immensely, so I'm sorry to see that one suffering box office woes. It's not exactly a flop -- an estimated $12 million opening should make it $30-45 million. But, like First Man, it's see as a potentially commercial effort that fell short, and Oscar voters tend to punish those things.