Who knew Ashton Kutcher could give Michael Fassbender a run for his money? In what has to be the box office bomb story of the year, director Danny Boyle and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin’s high profile Steve Jobs biopic has done the exact opposite of light up the box office in hopes of an early Oscar push. In fact, the movie is on par with the much-maligned 2013 biopic Jobs, starring Kutcher in the lead role. We’re guilty of writing that movie off like everyone else, but it looks like both movies will live on in mediocrity. The Apple gods must be happy.
Considering Kutcher-Jobs was an indie project by a first-time producer with a no-name director and screenwriter, plus a relatively miniscule $12 million budget and a PG-13 rating, the failure of the Fassbender-led Steve Jobs movie becomes that much more embarrassing.
The Fassbender-Jobs started out in limited release in early October with the year’s best per-theater average. But what began as a promising start fell apart miserably when it debuted with only $7 million in its first wide-release weekend for seventh place at the box office. That was well below lofty expectations. Compare that to the $6.7 million that the Kutcher-Jobs made in its first weekend of wide release and it looks like Fassbender has the edge. But the second wide-release weekend of both movies shows an even more level playing field of audience indifference. Fassbender-Jobs made $2.6 million, while Kutcher-Jobs made $2.8 million.
The Kutcher-Jobs movie ended up with a $16.1 million domestic take and $19.8 internationally for a $35.9 million worldwide gross. As Oscar season dawns, Steve Jobs should creep above the total that Jobs made, but the surprising fact is that nobody expected to be saying that.
With an Academy Award-winning director and screenwriter pair along with an Academy Award-nominated lead actor in a buzzed-about project backed by a major studio, all signs pointed to a Social Network-style hit. Though critics like us adore it, Steve Jobs will have a tough time breaking free from its box office bomb status. Still, some Oscars may turn the tide for this unconventional biopic.