Contributing to dismal weekend results in North America was “Suburbicon,” which is Mr. Clooney’s sixth film as a director and his fourth misfire. Bludgeoned by critics — “a tonal disaster from start to finish” is how RogerEbert.com put it — “Suburbicon” cost about $25 million to make, and took in roughly $2.8 million in the United States. It was distributed into 2,046 theaters, giving Paramount its worst wide-release result on record.
Credit Jordan Strauss/Invision
“Suburbicon” is not a financial catastrophe for Paramount. After initially passing on the script, the studio ended up paying about $10 million for domestic rights. Foreign distributors covered the balance of the cost. The problem is that Mr. Clooney — an Oscar-winning actor and producer — has now had more misses than hits as a director, which is usually when studios cut off the money. (Especially if you are a female director.)
Mr. Clooney’s last film, “The Monuments Men,” was also a critical and commercial disappointment in 2014. So was “Leatherheads” in 2008. His first stab at directing, “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind,” got good reviews in 2002 but fizzled at the box office. Mr. Clooney’s successes as a filmmaker have been “The Ides of March” in 2011 and “Good Night, and Good Luck,” for which he received an Oscar nomination for best director in 2006.
Also flopping over the weekend was “Thank You for Your Service,” which cost Mr. Spielberg’s Amblin Partners $20 million to make and took in roughly $3.7 million. “Thank You for Your Service,” which received mostly positive reviews and was distributed by Universal Pictures, may have suffered from a lack of audience interest in films involving the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. “American Sniper” was a smash hit in 2014, but ticket buyers have rejected entries like “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” (2016), “Green Zone” (2010), “In the Valley of Elah” (2007), “Lions for Lambs” (2007) and “Home of the Brave” (2006).
Also notable: “Amityville: The Awakening,” a low-budget horror movie from Dimension, a division of the embattled Weinstein Company, and Blumhouse Productions, was made available in 10 theaters on Saturday. The fate of this movie, which was released on GooglePlay for free earlier this month, was decided long before the sexual harassment crisis that has enveloped the Weinstein Company in recent weeks. But it nonetheless adds to the poor recent track record of Dimension, run by Bob Weinstein.