Darren Aronofsky's mother! is officially a box office dud, but Paramount Pictures is sticking by the film. With a production budget of roughly $30 million and only $13 million in international ticket sales so far - paired with CinemaScore's official F-rating - this maternal mind-bender hasn't exactly lived up to expectations. Compared to Aronofsky's 2010 psychological thriller Black Swan, which raked in over $100 million at the box office, mother! has become another critically-divisive and commercially dubious prospect for the filmmaker, following his biblical epic Noah in 2014.
Nevertheless, Megan Colligan, worldwide president of marketing and distribution for Paramount, still believes that audiences ought to give mother! a shot. In fact, the studio has even issued an official statement, defending the film and encouraging audiences to check it out for themselves.
In an official statement defending the film, Colligan said:
“This movie is very audacious and brave. You are talking about a director at the top of his game, and an actress at the top her game. They made a movie that was intended to be bold. Everyone wants original filmmaking, and everyone celebrates Netflix when they tell a story no one else wants to tell. This is our version. We don’t want all movies to be safe. And it’s okay if some people don’t like it.”
Much of Colligan's points reflect a sort of counter-argument to negative criticisms directed at the film (read Screen Rant's review of mother! here), celebrating its less-than-mainstream approach to storytelling, rather than denouncing it. Whether her statement resonates with people who either saw mother! and disliked it, or haven't seen it yet at all, remains to be seen.
Aside from the movie itself, however, drawing comparisons between Paramount and Netflix certainly brings up a fair point. Since Netflix's first original movie back in 2015 (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend), the company has been lauded for tackling films that might not have seemed as attractive to major film studios. That said, even Netflix has battled with bad reviews for their original films. Marlon Wayans' Naked, Kevin James' The True Memoirs of an International Assassin, and Adam Sandler's western parody The Ridiculous 6 all earned a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Most of the negative criticism surrounding mother! isn't so much pertaining to the talent in front of or behind the camera, but to the story itself. It's hardly a run-of-the-mill parable of heaven, hell, and everything in between, but for the most part, despite all of the bells and whistles, that's exactly what it is. Whether that will necessarily entice potential audiences, though, is up to their relationship with Aronofsky himself, and between films like mother!, The Fountain, and Requiem for a Dream, his style is an acquired taste. Still, Paramount hardly believes that his new film deserves to be down for the count.
Source: Paramount Pictures
- mother! (2017) release date: Sep 15, 2017