Jennifer Lawrence is usually box office gold and people absolutely love her. So coupling her with Darren Aronofsky, one of the most visionary directors working in Hollywood today, and a stellar supporting cast in a not-so-typical horror movie seemed like a great idea on paper. It turns it, at least as far as audiences are concerned, it wasn't. Mother! drowned at the box office this weekend and earned a rare F CinemaScore. However, despite the failure, Paramount Pictures has released an official statement defending Mother which has been getting decent reviews from critics.
Paramount Pictures' president of marketing and distribution Megan Colligan released the statement following the performance of Mother at the box office over the weekend. The movie made just $7.5 million domestically and is likely to fall off in a big way following the largely negative word of mouth from casual moviegoers, some believe because of Jennifer Lawrence herself, who has stirred up some controversy with her outspoken political views. Despite that, Colligan feels they made the right move and is completely at peace with the divisive nature of Mother. Here's what she had to say.
"This movie is very audacious and brave. You are talking about a director at the top of his game, and an actress at the top of her game. They made a movie that was intended to be bold. Everyone wants original filmmaking, and everyone celebrates Netflix when they tell a story no one else wants to tell. This is our version. We don't want all movies to be safe. And it's okay if some people don't like it."
Love or hate Mother, it is a little hard not to respect Paramount standing behind their movie and the creative team in such a way. Often times, if a movie bombs, the studio will try and do some sort of damage control or sweep it under the rug. Instead, Megan Colligan fully stands by Darren Aronofsky and his vision. And despite the fact that Mother didn't land in the way that the studio surely hoped it might, she does have a pretty reasonable point to make.
Moviegoers complain fairly regularly these days about a lack of original ideas in Hollywood. With so many movies being part of major franchises, or remakes of movies from the past, that has left quite a few auteur filmmakers out in the cold and people wanting original stories out of luck much of the time. Even if it didn't quite work, at least in the eyes of many, Mother! is an original movie from a major studio that you can go see in theaters and not just stream on Netflix. That is a pretty rare thing these days.
At the end of the day, Mother! isn't going to be a huge hit, but Paramount will probably make their money back. The movie has a reported production budget of $30 million and has grossed $13.5 million worldwide so far. By the time digital sales, Blu-ray/DVD and the rest of the box office is factored in, they should still break even. That may not be what Paramount wanted, but it could be enough for them to take more chances on original stories in the future.