Aaron Sorkin's 'Steve Jobs' flops at the box office

Posted:
in General Discussion edited November 2015
"Steve Jobs," the dramatic, fictionalized depiction of Apple's cofounder written by Aaron Sorkin and starring Michael Fassbender, has flopped on its national release, bringing in just $7.3 million for a film that cost $30 million to make.




The movie previously opened to the highest per-theater average of the year in a limited release involving just three theaters in New York City and Los Angeles, resulting in some predictions that the movie might bring in as much as $19 million over its opening weekend.

However, outside of key urban audiences, the film failed to attract interest across the 2,000 theaters showing it this weekend. An earlier movie titled "Jobs," staring Ashton Kutcher, similarly flopped when it brought in $6.7 million on its opening weekend, nearly as much despite poor reviews.

Variety senior film and media reporter Brent Lang called it "too brainy, too cold, and too expensive to make it a success. Moreover, Michael Fassbender, the electrifying Irish actor who replaced (Christian) Bale as Jobs, lacks the drawing power to open the picture."

The controversial bio pic has drawn significant criticism from Apple executives--and other tech industry luminaries who were close to Jobs, including Walt Mossberg--as being inaccurate and failing to capture the real identity of the man who had such a profound impact on consumer technology across many decades.

Audiences who knew of Jobs as Apple's master presenter of new products, a rockstar-like status as that developed as the company sprouted into a global powerhouse that radically shifted markets and set the standard for consumer electronics, are not likely to be interested in seeing a brooding adult drama that portrays him as a bad parent played by the android from Prometheus.

The movie is also arriving with strong competition for adult audiences, with Lang noting that "Steven Spielberg's 'Bridge of Spies,' Nancy Meyer's 'The Intern,' and the Johnny Depp mob movie 'Black Mass' are all appealing to older crowds, and there is a wealth of specialty films in limited release like 'Room' that are attracting the art-house set."

He cited Universal's domestic distribution chief Nick Carpou as saying, "We are going to continue to support the film in the markets where it is showing strength and we're going to continue to do it aggressively and proactively. The critics are there for it and the buzz in these markets is strong."

However, Lang noted that "It's still hard to see how the film turns a profit. The picture cost $30 million to make and at least as much to market. That means that 'Steve Jobs' needs to do at least $120 million in order to break even. Given that the film is dialogue-driven and lacks a major star, its foreign prospects seem bleak. It's almost entirely a domestic play, and so far it's only made about $10 million."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 124
    It had its moments, but suffered from being complete fiction. Reality is much more interesting.
  • Reply 2 of 124
    Sorkin's an idiot. This kind of movies should have been straight to Netflix.
  • Reply 3 of 124
    The real reason it flopped, it was boring as hell.
  • Reply 4 of 124
    Boy, this should help get the record straight. Any chance that I could spend my buck seeing this movie was gone by the end of Walt Mossberg's Ctrl-Walt-Delete podcast of last week.

    Artistic license my *ss, this was just a scummy thing to do to a person who no longer can defend himself. People forget the he left a family behind and that they must carry on. Making it more difficult is just dumb and cruel.
  • Reply 5 of 124
    Originally Posted by osmartormenajr View Post

    Artistic license my *ss

     

  • Reply 6 of 124
    prolineproline Posts: 184member

    This is for the best. The Steve Jobs depicted in the movie is a work of fiction unrelated to the CEO by the same name. The fewer people see this movie, the fewer people will be mislead into thinking the historical Steve Jobs was something he wasn't. Beyond that, the movie was based on terrible source material (Isaacson's error filled bio) on which was laid an overly artsy conceit- to try to depict the life of a man via three acts that take place before keynotes when the real Steve Jobs was actually just rehearsing his lines. Not to mention this movie completely ignores Jobs biggest achievements like the iPhone, iPad, Apple Stores, Pixar, etc.

     

    As for you, AI, you should be ashamed of how you went gaga over this movie. You were so flattered that they invited you to see the movie as a VIP weeks ahead of us peasants that you entirely stopped thinking critically and just endorsed the hell out of it. How embarrassing. 

  • Reply 7 of 124
    Glad to say I did not contribute to this steaming pile.
  • Reply 8 of 124
    prolineproline Posts: 184member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by osmartormenajr View Post



    Artistic license my *ss, this was just a scummy thing to do to a person who no longer can defend himself. People forget the he left a family behind and that they must carry on. Making it more difficult is just dumb and cruel.

    Well said. I'm sure Jobs wife and their three children appreciate being completely left out of this movie because their existence doesn't support the thesis that Jobs was a volatile, unloving, jerk. Of course how this affects real people doesn't matter. It is, as Cook said, sheer opportunism. 

  • Reply 9 of 124

    The public has spoken.  Apparently Sorkin and Boyle were making a movie for themselves.  

  • Reply 10 of 124
    jpellino wrote: »
    The public has spoken.  Apparently Sorkin and Boyle were making a movie for themselves.  

    And AppleInsider. Didn't they write like 4-5 articles about this after seeing it once?
  • Reply 11 of 124
    foljsfoljs Posts: 297member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by proline View Post

    Beyond that, the movie was based on terrible source material (Isaacson's error filled bio)  


     

    So, like, the officially sanctioned biography of Steve Jobs, created in cooperatio with Jobs himself...

  • Reply 12 of 124
    jpellino wrote: »
    The public has spoken.  Apparently Sorkin and Boyle were making a movie for themselves.  

    So basically, it was like every single Sorkin and Boyle film ever made, then?

    None of these flops can touch Pirates of Silicon Valley.
  • Reply 13 of 124
    After much commiseration, I decided to skip the movie (I may change my mind at some future point in time, who knows), and was feeling somewhat ambivalent about it.

    Looks like I wasn't alone in my decision.
  • Reply 14 of 124
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    Audiences...are not likely to be interested in seeing a brooding adult drama that portrays him as a bad parent played by the android from Prometheus.

    Perhaps the author should watch Fassbender in '12 Years a Slave' where he won four acting awards and was nominated for no less than 26 others.

  • Reply 15 of 124
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by foljs View Post

     

     

    So, like, the officially sanctioned biography of Steve Jobs, created in cooperatio with Jobs himself...




    None of that means that it is any good. Steve Jobs was a human who had failures. Isaacson was one of them. Few people have the objectivity to write a good autobiography, or, in this case, to hire a good biographer. Isaacson may well have had some success elsewhere, but his knowledge of tech is extremely poor, and understanding Steve Jobs without understanding what he brought to the table simply wasn't possible.

  • Reply 16 of 124
    What kind of math is this?

    "The picture cost $30 million to make and at least as much to market. That means that 'Steve Jobs' needs to do at least $120 million in order to break even."

    No. If it were to bring in $120 million, the movie would make 100% profit, using the numbers from the first statement.

    Or is this part of Hollywood's "accounting" that if the numbers work out like this, they tell their investors the movie broke even and there is no profit for them.
  • Reply 17 of 124
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    He said he wasn't doing it for financial gain anyway remember?
  • Reply 18 of 124

    Nice that it's apparently well-acted and produced.

    Sad that it's apparently not an accurate portrayal of the title subject.

    If one is going to produce a quality fiction story with a strong cast and director,

        i.e., an engaging film, why choose a real person for the title character, if it's inaccurate?

    The answer has to be that one hopes to use the name-recognition of the irrelevant title-character to draw in an unsuspecting audience.  Unfortunately, that is merely an instance of exploitation.

  • Reply 19 of 124
    Michael Fassbender will never be an A-list star who can carry a movie. Nobody is going to the theater to see him. The studio should've acquiesced to whatever the hell David Fincher wanted and kept him paired with Christian Bale by any means necessary.
  • Reply 20 of 124
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,716member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by foljs View Post

     
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by proline View Post

    Beyond that, the movie was based on terrible source material (Isaacson's error filled bio)  


     

    So, like, the officially sanctioned biography of Steve Jobs, created in cooperatio with Jobs himself...


     

    Now ask your self how bad a writer Walter Isaacson must be to screw up a book that should have practically written itself.

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