It was just announced that Ari Aster‘s outrageously hyped Hereditary received a brutal D+ CinemaScore in its opening weekend. Many fans didn’t buy into the hype that began after its World Premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, before gaining the support of even more critics out of the SXSW Film Festival. To put it in perspective, A24’s The Witch received a C- CinemaScore during its opening weekend. Even so, the hype got people into theaters with the film earning an estimated $5M on Friday, which could put it around $12M for the weekend. Not too shabby for a low budget, anti-Hollywood horror drama. Still, the CinemaScore could indicate a huge dropoff in the film’s second week, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.
For what it’s worth, Hereditary is currently sitting high on Rotten Tomatoes with a 94% critic score, in direct contrast to the audience-polled CinemaScore.
Digressing, what does the D+ score mean for cinema? Do we put any stock into it? The marketing behind the film pegged it as “the scariest movie ever” and as being even scarier than The Exorcist, which is just plain ridiculous. If the goal was to get as many people to talk about and see the film as possible, A24’s looking at a successful opening. In terms of a film’s legacy, they set it up for failure. There’s a fine line here that’s very hard for most people to experience. Being one who has created hype for the better part of 15 years, it’s an interesting experience being on the other side of the conversation – I just saw Hereditary Thursday night. I too found myself let down by the months of hype. So who’s at fault?
Look, it’s hard to blame critics for getting excited about their “find” or jumping on the bandwagon. Experiencing a film at a festival with zero hype or expectations is way different than paying $12 to see it in a theater opening night over Solo or Deadpool 2. That’s where the lines become blurry. How do you experience Hereditary? I’ve been digesting the film for the past few days and it’s infecting me, much like what happened with The Witch. Walking out of a theater and feeling disappointment is an extremely different emotion than acknowledging that it’s festering inside of you and slowly warming your cockles. I’d probably have contributed to the CinemaScore, but am slowly coming around to the fact that Hereditary may actually be a classic and stand the test of time.
A24 is a distributor and has the job of selling their product. While we may not agree with how it was presented, one thing is for sure, they continue to push against the Hollywood norm and fight to bring us original content, which is what we’re constantly begging for. Hereditary is 100% anti-Hollywood and A24 rules so hard for not giving two fucks about what that means and putting it in theaters.
Some of us will continue to digest Hereditary and I’m quite certain it’s going to grow as a favorite among the horror community, especially when Toni Collette is nominated for an Academy Award (here’s hoping). What do you guys have to say about it?
— CinemaScore (@CinemaScore) June 9, 2018