For anyone who thought WikiLeaks was a fascinating cinematic subject, The Hollywood Reporter is already offering an obituary: “The Fifth Estate quickly died, grossing a paltry $1.7 million from 1,769 theaters -- the worst opening of the year so far for a movie opening in more than 1,500 theaters.”
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has repeatedly criticized Bill Condon's film for Disney’s Touchstone label for a slanted presentation of himself and WikiLeaks. At one point, he even wrote a note to actor Benedict Cumberbatch asking the actor to drop out of the movie.
The Hollywood Reporter added “On the eve of Fifth Estate's domestic debut, Assange -- who remains holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London -- even Skyped with members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, predicting that Condon's movie would fail because it didn't present a proper underdog story.”
"We're disappointed with these results," said Disney distribution chief Dave Hollis, noting that “Fifth Estate” did best in [liberal] big cities, including New York, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and Toronto.
The should-be-friendly Huffington Post reported: “With just $1.7 million in ticket sales since Friday night, ‘The Fifth Estate’ now owns the ignominious title of worst wide-release opening of 2013.” It averaged just $969 per theater during its opening weekend, while “Carrie” debuted at more than $5,000 a screen.
Assange and his crew tried to damage the film’s prospects by offering free viewing of its own documentary “Mediastan.” Assange promoted himself: "Why is everybody watching David? Because Goliath is an insufferable bore."