A climate change documentary aimed at promoting Green New Deal initiatives — and featuring Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — gave new meaning to the term “Box Office Bomb” with its dismal opening weekend.
Director Rachel Lears is behind the documentary, titled “To the End,” which debuted over the weekend in 120 theaters. The total box office haul for opening weekend was a less-than-stellar $9,667, according to Box Office Mojo.
Lears’ previous offering, Netflix’s “Knock Down the House,” also prominently featured Ocasio-Cortez and earned high marks from critics — Rotten Tomatoes gave it a critic score of 99% fresh. Viewers were not as kind, giving the film a rating of just 11%.
“To the End” has already garnered a critic score of 83% on the film-rating site, but at the time of publication, too few audience members had voted for the viewer score to be posted.
Exhibitor Relations Co. (@ERCboxoffice) did the math on the depressing opening-weekend numbers, determining that the per-theater average was even worse than the overall box office take.
“This is it the end, my friend,” they tweeted on Monday once the numbers were in for the weekend showings. “Roadside Attractions’ documentary on climate change, TO THE END, ‘starring’ AOC, was voted out of the box office — just $9,667 in 120 theaters, $81 per. Yes, $81 per.”
Nobody cares less about climate change than...theatergoers.
— Exhibitor Relations Co. (@ERCboxoffice) December 12, 2022
“Nobody cares less about climate change than … theatergoers,” they concluded.
As if to belabor that point, Mediaite noted that “To the End” debuted alongside Atlas Distribution’s gory horror flick “The Mean One,” based (very) loosely on the 1957 Dr. Seuss children’s classic, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”
“The Mean One” debuted in 162 theaters and pulled in over $218,000 — an average of just over $1300 per theater — suggesting, as Mediaite concluded, that moviegoers would rather watch a Christmas-themed slasher flick than listen to more lectures about climate from the same cast of characters.
Another film released to limited theaters, for the sake of comparison, was Darren Aronofsky’s “The Whale” — which pulled in $360,000 from just six theaters in New York and California and averaged $60,000 per theater during the same time frame.
In addition to being the best indie-film opening of the year and already generating Oscar buzz — primarily for lead actor Brendan Fraser — “The Whale” marks Aronofsky’s best per-theater average for an opening weekend since 2010’s “The Black Swan.”