One of the biggest movie stars in the world suffered one of the biggest box-office flops of his career this weekend.
Even with Johnny Depp, the Hunter S. Thompson-themed "Rum Diary" couldn't scrape up more than $5 million at 2,272 North American locations. Considering the movie had a budget of about $45 million, that's a tough opening for the FilmDistrict release.
So that’s $40 million down the rathole? More, no doubt; there’s marketing to consider, and prints. They’ll probably make it up in foreign markets by painting eyeliner on Depp’s character and retitling it “Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle Of Rum Diary” to make it seem like a pirate pic, so all is not lost. Meanwhile, heads are scratching: why did it tank? Bad week for small films? Depp’s appeal on the wane? People like him only when he’s piratical? Perhaps because word of mouth was like halitosis: The movie got a C minus from people who actually saw it, and Hunter S. Thompson’s appeal may not be as universal as some suspect. It’s not his first bomb: the story notes that “The Tourist,” “The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus,” and “The Libertine” underperformed as well. He’ll do well in the upcoming “Lone Ranger,” but this probably isn’t the time to sign on to any “Waterworld” sequels.