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The long-delayed dystopian mystery — which features an uncredited cameo by Johnny Depp, Heard’s ex-husband — took in an estimated $160,000 from 613 theaters. That’s the second worst opening for a wide release behind 2008’s Proud American ($96,076), per Box Office Mojo, whose database begins in 1980. (Box Office Mojo defines a wide opening as any movie playing in 600 or more theaters.)
A final weekend gross will be released Monday, and it’s possible the number could shift. Either way, it will be only the second film besides Proud American not to clear at least $200,000.
At $160,000, London Fields‘ per-screen average is a dismal $261, the lowest ever for a film rolling out in that number of locations, and among one of the lowest averages ever for a wide debut.
The movie’s stunningly bad performance at the box office caps a long and tumultuous journey to the big screen. Billy Bob Thornton, Jim Sturgess, Theo James and Cara Delevingne co-star in the adaptation of Martin Amis’ celebrated novel of the same name. Matthew Cullen directed.
London Fields was originally set to make its world premiere at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival, but it was scrubbed from the roster because of a legal dispute involving the producer and Cullen. In 2016, that was followed by the producers suing Heard for $10 million. She countersued, alleging her nudity agreement was violated and that a producer’s cut of the film included unauthorized sexual images and vulgar scenes.
The case with Heard was settled last month, and plans were made for indie distributor GVN Releasing to distribute the movie. GVN, which has focused on faith-based fare, decided to broaden its scope earlier this year, beginning with Shine, a Latin dance drama that launched to $205,482 from 605 theaters earlier this month. As fate would have it, Shine previously held the record for the second-worst wide start of all time.
Opening a movie across the country requires a multi-million dollar marketing spend, and it isn’t clear how much the London Fields‘ team devoted to that effort.
By way of comparison to other films over the weekend, the faith-based pic Indivisible opened to an estimated $1.7 million from 830 theaters. At the specialty box office, Amazon Studios’ prestige horror title, Suspiria, grossed more than London Fields ($179,806) despite playing in just two locations.
Reviewers have savaged London Fields, which currently sports a zero percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Conversely, the audience rating is a strong 83 percent. Some outlets, including The Hollywood Reporter, reviewed the film prior to its planned Toronto screening in 2015.
Late last week, Heard walked the red carpet at the film’s premiere at the London Hotel in West Hollywood. The actress, 32, is next in theaters with Warner Bros. and DC’s high-profile superhero event pic Aquaman (Dec. 21). This summer, Heard appeared on behalf of Aquaman at CinemaCon, where Depp was also on hand to plug his own upcoming movie, Warners’ sequel Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (Nov. 16).
Heard and Depp were a couple when London Fields went into production in fall 2013. They married in 2015, only to separate a year later, Their divorce proceeded when Heard dropped a request for a temporary restraining order after accusing Depp of alleged domestic abuse.
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Jon M. Chu