UK Box Office Breakdown: Craig's Fool Has Disasterous Opening

While Mike Leigh's latest wins hearts and minds.

by | April 23, 2008 | Comments

This week's UK Box Office Top EightThe failure of Daniel Craig‘s Flashbacks of a Fool is the big box office story of the week, with the film flopping so spectacularly it didn’t even make the top ten.

The film revolves around Daniel Craig’s fading Hollywood star Joe Scott, who returns home for a friends funeral and looks back over his life – cue self-obsessed naval gazing from a narcissistic Craig.

Critics were decidedly unsure about the film; many praised the performances and technical aspects, but slammed the general premise, with Little White Lies’ Danny Bangs labelling the film “a two-hour whining session” and Empire’s Sam Toy describing the screenplay as ‘malformed’.

However, maybe marketing was a bigger problem than bad reviews for the film — a silly title, an oblique, talky plot where little actually happens, and having the current James Bond in a role that isn’t James Bond must surely have confused the public to such an extent that they gave the film the widest of berths. And good luck to them.

To manufacture a laboured segue, another film with fool in the title made a much bigger splash in cinemas. Fool’s Gold — a daft rom-com with genre experts Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson playing estranged lovers bought together by a treasure hunt (genius!) obviously tickled audiences’ fancies, despite an almost insultingly ridiculous plot and slapdash direction from Andy Tennant (thought of by many as the worst director in Hollywood).

Nonetheless, with the rain pouring down and the threat of a looming recession, it seems our nation’s cinemagoers would love nothing more than some perky, sun-drenched, escapist nonsense to get them through these oh-so-troubling times.

That’s maybe the reason for another of these weeks’ theatrical success stories – Mike Leigh‘s Happy-Go-Lucky – which came in at number nine in the chart but took by far the highest amount of dough-per-screen. Leigh’s optimistic and cynicism-free tale of a school teacher from North London won of the hearts and minds of both jaded critics and audiences – a fact that makes the usually grumpy RT feel warm inside.

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