‘Steve Jobs’ Crashes

After a month of its release, Sony Pictures has decided to pull Steve Jobs from over 2,000 movie theaters across the nation.

Since its release in October, the Danny Boyle-directed biopic has grossed a measly $16 million. The James Bond epic Spectre, in comparison, has grossed over $73 million in its opening weekend.

With the total budget for Steve Jobs being $30 million dollars, that means Sony Pictures lost over $14 million on the project.

It’s safe to say that Steve Jobs is officially a box office bomb.

There’s no clear reason as to why Steve Jobs tanked so badly at the box office. I wrote in my review that Steve Jobs …captures both the genius and fragility of Jobs, the sharpness in his words and the intimacy of his emotions.” I continue to attest to that despite the financial failure of the project. Steve Jobs was not a perfect film, but it was written well, the drama and tension was built excellently between its characters, and Michael Fassbender especially was mesmerizing in the lead role. The movie did not deserve to fail as much as it did.

So what happened? In my interview with screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, he attested that while the film took liberties on what events took place, it was wholly accurate to the emotions that were being felt at the time. The film as a whole is aesthetically accurate to Steve Jobs. It is not literally accurate.

“This is a painting and not a photograph,” Sorkin said to me. “It’s not a piece of journalism. It’s a piece of art.” 

I think that, in the midst of hearing that Steve Jobs was not entirely factual, audiences were deterred by Steve Jobs and were prompted to spend their weekend differently. That is very sad if that is the case, because The Social Network was written similarly, yet no one judged Sorkin when he wrote that script. Indeed, he won the Academy Award for best adapted screenplay for the liberties he took in writing that film. Along with that, The Social Network performed very well at the box office, grossing over $220 million during its theatrical run.

The Social Network and Steve Jobs are both very similar films. They both tell stories about eccentric geniuses who struggle with their personalities and with having human relationships with the people closest to them. Yet, one flourished and one tanked. Why?

Steve Jobs is in early talks to be nominated for many accolades during awards season. It is currently playing in only 421 theaters.

– David Dunn

SOURCE: Box Office Mojo, Cult of Mac
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