Just how poorly could an Angelina Jolie movie do, exactly? She’s a big name, right? She has a strong history at the box office. Even in a pandemic, people will still want to see her new thriller, right? Well, it turns out they’d rather watch Chris Rock in the latest Saw movie. For their opening weekends in theaters, Spiral, the latest Saw movie, earned $8.7 million. Meanwhile, Jolie’s Those Who Wish Me Dead pulled in $2.8 million at the box office, putting it in third place in the weekend’s rankings.
Second place this weekend went to Wrath of Man. It celebrated its second weekend in theaters with $3.7 million, beating out Angelina Jolie’s movie. This puts the movie down 55% from its first weekend, which puts some perspective on how poorly Those Who Wish Me Dead is doing at the box office. Wrath of Man is pulling in good reviews though, which likely helps bring audiences in for its second weekend. Those Who Wish Me Dead is not only bombing at the box office, it’s also earning pretty mediocre responses.
Roger Ebert greatly disliked it. They gave the Angelina Jolie movie two stars. They said they liked previous titles from director Taylor Sheridan and that the character design for Jolie’s part should have been made for her. The actual movie, they said, is all over the place. There are too many moving parts and the narrative doesn’t tie together clearly.
Audiences on Rotten Tomato gave it 85%, which really pulls it up from where the critics would put it. Still, the film has few audience reviews, as few have seen it.
Angelina Jolie plays Hannah, a smoke jumper in Montana. She’s on the watch for forest fires when she runs into a child in need of help. As she starts helping him, she is unaware that there is also an encroaching fire. That’s probably enough story right there, but this movie goes a step further. There are also two killers hunting the child in the forest. Yes, the forest that is on fire. That’s a lot of story to fit into one movie.
The Angelina Jolie thriller was a big leap for Taylor Sheridan, and it may have been too much to pull together. The writer and director has made a name for themselves with work on Hell or High Water, Wind River, and co-creating the Kevin Costner television series, Yellowstone, which has been doing exceedingly well on streaming. With their history in Westerns, they were stepping out a bit with Those Who Wish Me Dead, which takes place in Montana and could appeal to a Western audience, but focused more on thriller elements.
Fortunately for Angelina Jolie, her career is established enough that she isn’t likely to be sent to movie jail for a pandemic flop. In fact, the next time we see her will be in Marvel’s Eternals when it hits theaters on November 5, 2021. It’s hard to imagine Eternals being a box office bomb, so she seems well lined up for assured major success soon in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.