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Director Darren Aronofsky has opened up about the notorious “F” grade that his latest film, mother!, received from CinemaScore, a research firm that surveys and analyzes audience reactions to films.
“What’s interesting about that is, like, how if you walk out of this movie are you not going to give it an ‘F?’ It’s a punch. It’s a total punch,” Aronofsky said in a Q&A with The Frame‘s John Horn following a screening of the film at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
“I realize that we were excited by that,” Aronofsky continued. “We wanted to make a punk movie and come at you. And the reason I wanted to come is because I was very sad and I had a lot of anguish and I wanted to express it. Filmmaking is such a hard journey. People are constantly saying no to you. And to wake up every morning and get out of bed and to face all those ‘no’s, you have to be willing to really believe in something.”
mother! is just one of 19 films to earn a dreaded “F” grade from CinemaScore, alongside other box office underperformers The Wicker Man, The Box and Killing Them Softly. Aronofksy’s mother! opened below expectations, grossing just $7.5 million at the domestic box office.
Aronofsky explained that in his initial pitch to his collaborators and stars of mother! (which include Oscar winners Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem) he said “this isn’t going to be a popularity contest.”
“We’re basically holding up a mirror to what’s going on,” the director explained. “All of us are doing this. But that final chapter hasn’t been written and hopefully things can change. And, to go back, the fact that it’s going down right now and things are really falling apart in a way that is really scary.”
Aronofsky went on to express that mother! was his chance to “howl.” “Some people are not going to want to listen to it. That’s cool,” he said.
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