REMINISCENCE Faulters with $2 Million Opening Weekend

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REMINISCENCE Faulters with $2 Million Opening Weekend

By Movieguide® Staff

REMINISCENCE, a new sci-fi thriller starring Hugh Jackman and Rebecca Ferguson, opened to an abysmal $2 million during its first weekend.

The mind-bending movie is further evidence for box-office struggles in the pandemic era and the inconclusive data surrounding the day-to-date release strategy, as REMINISCENCE premiered in theaters and on HBO Max.

Despite the delta variant of the COVID-19 virus and hurricane Henri, the lackluster performance of REMINISCENCE again proves that content matters—and moral, uplifting and family-focused content will lead the way for the box office recovery.

A portion of Movieguide®’s review reads:

REMINISCENCE is a science fiction mystery thriller starring Hugh Jackman. Nick Banister works in Miami, Florida, where he and his assistant help people relive their best memories in a psychological exercise called the Reminiscence. One day, a woman named Mae comes to Nick’s office looking for help to find her keys. Later, Mae and Nick develop a steamy romantic relationship. Everything’s just fine until Mae disappears.

REMINISCENCE is smartly made, with a fine script having some good twists and turns, followed by a satisfying resolution. The direction by Writer Lisa Joy and performances by Hugh Jackman, Rebecca Ferguson, Thandie Newton, and others are also good. Happily, REMINISCENCE has some moral, redemptive, biblical, and patriotic content. It promotes truth, friendship, self-sacrifice, and military service. Also, characters discuss sin, the Great Flood and impending judgment. This positive content is marred, however, by some Romantic, humanist elements where characters choose their own ways of life to quench their desires for happiness. REMINISCENCE also contains lots of foul language, a steamy love scene, adulterous behavior, and some substance abuse. So, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution for teenagers and adults.

At the top of the leaderboards were FREE GUY, a comedy starring Ryan Reynolds, and the family-friendly PAW PATROL: THE MOVIE.

Even analysts and reviewers who do not view movies through a biblical worldview pointed out that the blame is not entirely on the pandemic.

“I don’t know if you can lay it all on consumer’s habits during the pandemic,” Comscore’s Paul Dergarabedian said. “Even in this marketplace, product is the No. 1 factor. People want to see a good movie. A film has to have a lot of buzz to rise above the fray.”

Others added that the hybrid release strategy also negatively impacted ticket sales.

“This temporary hybrid release strategy is susceptible to the ups and downs of the pandemic,” Shawn Robbins, the chief analyst at Box Office Pro, said. “It goes without saying that certain films without an ‘all-audience’ angle and aimed narrowly at adults over a certain age are in a more challenging spot to succeed commercially until those moviegoers are more comfortable returning to public lifestyles.”

David A. Gross of Franchise Entertainment Research added: “Why take a risk when it’s easy to stay home and watch something good?”

REMINISCENCE is not the only example of a movie missing the mark during the pandemic due to its lack of uplifting content.

A similar situation took place early on during COVID-19 with the highly-anticipated sci-fi thriller from famed director Christopher Nolan, TENET.

Despite the backing of an Oscar-nominated director, TENET fell flat at the box office in Sept. 2020, barely breaking the $9 million mark in its opening weekend.

In December, Warner Bros.’s second blockbuster movie, WONDER WOMAN 1984, would easily surpass the studio’s previous record with over $16 million in its debut.

Sony also posted impressive numbers in Dec. 2020 with their family-friendly movie, THE CROODS: A NEW AGE.

Universal’s Jim Orr told Deadline at the time: “When you have an incredibly charming film, people want to come out and want to be together in a theater. Those that do, did, and enjoyed the Croods: A New Age very much.”

“The Croods: A New Age further solidifies Dreamworks Animation’s impeccable reputation of creating beautifully animated films and quality family entertainment with global appeal,” Orr added. “We are very proud of our ability to continue to support our exhibition partners in whatever ways we can as we look to bring audiences a sense of normalcy during these uncertain times, making this holiday weekend debut of The Croods especially gratifying in this difficult theatrical landscape.”

While no one denies the technical proficiency of movies like REMINISCENCE and TENET, they are not the answer to bring the largest number of moviegoers back to theaters.

Movieguide® previously reported of the summer box office:

In a recent report from Variety, the headline read: “Box Office: ‘Space Jam: A New Legacy’ Beats ‘Black Widow’ in Surprise Victory.”

However, here at Movieguide®, the box office numbers are no surprise. While critics’ scores did not reflect the movie’s achievement, fans attended 3,965 theaters across North America, proving that family-friendly content wins.

“This weekend is a positive indication that the family audience is alive, well and, according to ‘Space Jam 2’s’ enthusiastic audience scores, still thrilled by the big screen,” David A. Gross, head of the movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research, said.

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