Ben Affleck's Live By Night Broke an Unwanted Box Office Record

Posted 2017/02/07 4508 0

Ben Affleck gangster film Live By Night had the biggest third-week drop in cinema screens since records began, according to Box Office Mojo.


Ben Affleck's career was not in the best of places ten years ago, but once he started stepping behind the camera and directing movies, everything changed. His 2012 movie Argo was the pinnacle for him thus far, since the movie went on to win Best Picture at the Oscars and with that, all eyes were on his next movie. That movie, which was a passion project called Live by Night, didn't live up to expectations. Not by a long shot. The end result is going to cost Warner Bros. $75 million. It is being called the first big box office bomb of 2017. Critics did not warm to it either, the movie sits with a decidedly poor 35% ‘fresh’ rating on reviews aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes.

However the biggest embarrassment for Affleck was the new world record Live By Night set. The film had the biggest cinema screen drop in history, after the film lost over 94% of movie theatres willing to show the film. In its second week of release the movie was showing on 2822 screens, but a week later just 163 were prepared to have the movie.

The loss of 2,659 screens in a single week tops that of previous record-holder, Eddie Murphy’s ‘Meet Dave’ from 2008, the sci-fi comedy in which Murphy played a space craft which looks like Eddie Murphy, piloted by 100 tiny humanoid aliens, one of which was played by Eddie Murphy.

That movie, as well as losing its shirt at the box office, dropped from 3,011 screens in 488, while last year’s ‘Hardcore Henry’, in third place, dropped from 3,015 to 519.

Scott Mendelson, a Forbes contributor, said the problem is that films these days have to compete with several blockbusters that both children and adults want to see, like “Rogue One” and “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”

“Part of the problem is that so many of the big blockbuster-y movies… are playing to adults as well as kids,” he said. “So the actual adult movies are fighting for a smaller piece of the pie. Since most casual adult moviegoers go to the movies once or twice a month, if that, if they spend that date night checking out ‘Rogue One,’ then the actual adult movies suffer accordingly.”

Mendelson said there is only room for a few big hits each season.

“There is usually one or two adult films that can thrive in a given season, ‘Arrival’ and ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ over the holiday; ‘La La Land’ and ‘Hidden Figures’ over the New Year. But otherwise it's a tough going for most studio programmers.”

Live by Night is a 2016 American crime drama film written, directed, co-produced and starring Ben Affleck, based on the 2012 novel of the same name by Dennis Lehane. The film also stars Elle Fanning, Brendan Gleeson, Chris Messina, Sienna Miller, Zoe Saldana and Chris Cooper, and follows an Ybor City bootlegger who becomes a notorious gangster. It revolves around a group of Boston-bred gangsters that set up shop in balmy Florida during the Prohibition era, facing off against the competition and the Ku Klux Klan.