While Contagion and Warrior had respectable box office openings this weekend (Contagion was the weekend’s highest grosser, while Warrior landed in third place), not every film that debuted on Friday was so fortunate. In a rare cinematic event, the past few days saw not one, but two, historically awful occurrences: Creature posted the worst opening for a movie showing on 1500 screens in box office history, and Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star currently sits at a 0% fresh rating on aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. If that doesn’t clue you in to the fact that summer blockbuster season is over, maybe this will: summer blockbuster season is over.
Creature, which was made on the cheap and was barely promoted (no, commercials on SyFy, G4, and E! don’t count as real advertising…this film was so under the radar that we didn't even list it on the "opening this week" part of the main page) is the sort of film that had no business opening theatrically in the first place. A low-budget romp who’s biggest selling point was a part for genre icon Sid Haig, this tale of kids running afoul of a half-man, half-alligator creature in the bayou had direct to DVD written all over it. Sure, a film like Creature might have played theatrically back in the ‘80s – but that was roughly three decades ago. Times have changed.
According to Box Office Mojo, the feature played on 1507 screens and earned $331,000 – which gives it a per screen haul of $220. That’s an awful number, beating out even the dreadful Transylmania, which opened on a thousand screens back in 2009 and managed to bring in $262 for each of the 1007 locations it played. No matter how small Creature’s budget was, we suspect it was more than $331,000 – making the film a good bet to lose money for its producers.
Despite the low earnings numbers, Creature does at least have a 6% Fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes – which puts it 6% ahead of this weekend’s other colossal failure, Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star.
Say what you will about Creature, but no one really expected a low budget horror flick with Sid Haig in it to come out and rule the box office. Bucky Larson, on the other hand, was a Sony Pictures release, produced by Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison production company. It featured actors like Christina Ricci and Don Johnson in the cast, and had a budget of nearly ten million dollars. While that’s not a lot by today’s standards, it appears unlikely that Bucky will recoup his production costs domestically.
Nick Swardson stars in the turgid comedy as a small town bag boy who discovers his parents worked in porn. Naturally, this convinces him that porn is his destiny – and a bunch of lame gags about the size of his equipment follow.
With 20 reviews currently up, Bucky Larson sits at 0% on the Tomatometer. Perusing some of the review headlines is a pretty entertaining way to kill some time, and gives you a general idea of just how awful the film is. When Scott Nash says it’s “the worst Saturday Night Live sketch movie ever made that was never actually a Saturday Night Live sketch,” well, you get the idea. The best line of all, though, belongs to A.O. Scott. Scott says “let me put the matter another way: this may be the worst movie Pauly Shore has ever been in. Think about that.” We’d rather not, Mr. Scott – but we couldn’t help ourselves. That is a truly terrifying notion.
Should Bucky Larson hold on to its zero star rating, it will qualify as not only the worst film of 2011, but join the prestigious ranks of the worst reviewed films of all time. Somehow, though, we doubt this will kill Happy Madison, Nick Swardson’s career, or director Tom Brady’s (no, not the quarterback of the New England Patriots…) ability to get more work – because as Kevin Smith likes to point out, Hollywood is one of the few places on Earth where you can fail upwards. Given the catastrophic early buzz for Bucky Larson, we fully expect that everyone involved will be making $300 million dollar films within the year – right alongside guys like Marcus Nispel, whose Conan reboot has managed to make $20 million of its $90 million dollar budget back. There’s no business like show business, indeed.
[Hat Tip to The Wrap and Movieline]