There’s no easy way to define a financially “successful” movie. A lot depends on how much it cost to make, and even then, it’s not as basic as targeting a specific profit margin. Critical acclaim can make up for some lost revenue, as can awards, and then there’s licensing, and digital downloads, and retail, and DVDs, and sequels, and who knows what else. This is an inexact science that resists simple conclusions.
However, sometimes the veil of ambiguity slips away. Sometimes, a movie that cost $20 million to make goes to the UK, and earns £46 (approximately $69) in its opening weekend. In cases like these, we can speak with relative certainty: We are looking at an historic failure.
The movie in question is called Momentum (hilarious name, since it has gathered approximately none)—a thriller shot in South Africa, starring Morgan Freeman and Olga Kurylenko, about a petty criminal who accidentally finds himself involved with terrorists. Sounds like a good idea, right? Apparently not. Here’s what the critics are saying:
“Momentum is caught between being pulpy, mindless entertainment and socially-conscious commentary on government. It doesn’t do either competently.”
“A plot so thin that it’s barely there..”
“October 21, 2015
If you’re going to call your movie Momentum, it really ought to move.”
“One of the worst films you won’t see in 2015.”
“From the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers opening, through the Starsky & Hutch “gunfight in a warehouse” set-pieces, to the contractual-obligation shots of Kurylenko’s bum, this is utter pants.”
Utter pants! That last quote came from a British critic, of course, and apparently an entire nation took his word for it. Momentum opened in ten theaters this past weekend, and made an average of $6.90 at each, with two theaters selling exactly zero tickets. In the interest of fairness, we should mention that it was also made available as a digital download, and that it made more in the UAE ($275,000 to date) and Russia ($250,000 opening weekend).
But also in the interest of fairness, we should note that these facts and figures all pale in the face of the $69 opening weekend in the UK, and that a lot of people are going to lose a ton of money off this film. Based on the critical consensus, the laughably bad UK opening, and the unintentionally funny title, it is my contention that Momentum deserves consideration as the worst movie ever. It should at least enter the discussion, right?
Momentum enjoyed a limited release in the U.S. last month, but financial data is not yet available. Even without those numbers, I feel comfortable offering a free hot tip for my fellow Americans: If you get a chance to see this movie, don’t.