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Audiences reject Mel Gibson as 'The Beaver' flops

Beaver It appears that Mel Gibson, after well-publicized incidents in which he’s made sexist and anti-Semitic comments, may be losing his clout with moviegoers. The actor's latest film, "The Beaver," was released in 22 theaters this weekend and flopped.

The film grossed $104,000 for a paltry per-theater average of $4,745, according to an estimate from distributor Summit Entertainment. The movie came out after a year in which Gibson's stock with the public already  had been badly damaged. His reputation, hurt by a drunken anti-Semitic rant in 2006, worsened last summer when recordings surfaced of the actor apparently making abusive remarks to ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva over the telephone.

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In Hollywood, it's likely that many will claim "The Beaver's" poor performance means Gibson's acting career is over. But Richie Fay, president of domestic distribution for Summit, said the film's weak debut had more to do with its limited appeal than Gibson's behavior.

“I don’t think this is as much a repudiation of Mel and his personal life as it is about a film with difficult subject matter,” he said. “It’s not the type of role that people would gravitate to or expect him to be in.”

In the film, which was directed by and costars Jodie Foster, Gibson plays a depressed man whose only solace comes in communicating with a beaver puppet. The movie has so far been received well on the festival circuit and has garnered decent critical reviews.

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Still, Summit struggled to choose a release date for the film, pushing its opening from March to May. The movie will expand to about 30 theaters next weekend. It had been slated to go into wide release on May 20, but Fay said the movie would now most likely have a "limited art-house run."

“As it turns out, I think the film is more of an art-house specialty kind of movie than a broader commercial film,” he said. “The subject matter is a hard sell even though it’s got a commercial actor in it like Mel Gibson. I don’t know whether it’s going to transcend that art-house audience.”

If the film fails to attract to a wider audience, it will probably be a money loser for its financiers. "The Beaver" cost Summit and partners Participant Media and Imagenation Abu Dhabi $21 million to produce, though some of that was defrayed with sales to foreign distributors.

-- Amy Kaufman

RELATED:

Review: "The Beaver"

Jodie Foster is bullish on "The Beaver"

Photo: Jodie Foster and Mel Gibson star in "The Beaver." Credit: Summit Entertainment

 
Comments () | Archives (61)

Totally disagree with this- I saw the movie and it was amazing… It’s playing in very few places so that’s a deterrent right there for moviegoers.. Sounds like you have some personal hate going on for Mel.. I’m sure you’ve said some not so stellar things yourself-Mel had a woman recording him after goading him into an argument and we all know it was for financial gain-She already has another child from another actor so she is financially set for life-it’s obviously how she makes a living. He’s an alcoholic in need of therapy-givethe guy a break AND I’m sure that most people of ALL colors-black, white, and ALL religions have said bad things about another religion or race when they were not thinking coherently-the only difference is nobody was waiting to record it and publicize it-so just stop with the nonsense. IS it because Mel is a Christian that you find it so easy to attack him?

This is not the type of movie people rush to the theater to see. Its a matter of people being choosy about what to spend their money on at the overpriced box office and they are going to go for the big blockbuster every time. If it's any good, it will likely make more money when released on dvd than it will in the theaters. I don't think its low take at the box office has much to do with Mel Gibson.

After reading the media reports on Mel for the last year, seeing how it plainly sided with Ox --without researching her history/MO--I KNOW you will lie to further your private agendas (in this case Mel made the Passion and made a ton of money on it which those in power in Hollyweird object to for their own silly reasons.)

Guess what? I DON'T believe you. I bet the Beaver is great! Impartial reports (from sites that had more even reporting about ox and her scamming) say it IS great. I'll make sure and see it!

Yeah, its because Mel is so much like Jesus Christ that people do not like him !
Not his abusive, filthy mouth and violent attitude towards women. I remember all the parts in the New testament when Jesus was hating on Jews and talking to women like they were his personal punching bag just like Mel.

Why do we hate Jesus so much when we can see what a great example Mel Gibson is for all Christians to follow.

I think the point is Mel is human and has made mistakes yes but are you all so perfect that if we’ve recorded everything you ever said from every fight, we wouldn’t fight something repulsive that may have escaped your mouth?
In his many angry and mostly drunken tirades he has said some bad things but many in Hollywood have said and done far worse things..I plan on seeing it and I’m a Catholic and I’ve watched and heard Catholics and Christians being bashed often and they’re being killed daily in Africa and Muslim countries- nobody seems to care and in this country in particular it seems acceptable.. Let’s all relax he said a few stupid things, there are no kings here to demand he lose his head and his livelihood BUT it certainly seems as if thats happening in Hollywood.

Eric, Jesus isn't like that. He's not like you either, for which I am eternally grateful.

1) This story is a difficult sell no matter who's in it.
2) No question that some people will not see a film with Gibson in it no matter what.
3) Gibson and Foster should've swapped roles.

Give me a break re: Mel Gibson, he didn"t do or say anything more then some of the other so-called "movie stars" so give him a break. He is a good actor and gives to others. I think it is great that Jodie Foster stood by him, it goes to show you what a good person she is. And she is a great actress and director also, I know I will see that movie. Good for you Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster.

I'm sure this movie will find an audience - on cable TV hell playing in the wee hours of the morning for a decade.

This article is biased, and shame on Los Angeles Times for having biased reporters. I will cancel the subscription right now.

And yes, I saw the movie and Gibson does one of the best performances of his career, regardless of whatever he had to say in his private life.

And for the record, I'm a proud jew.

I haven't seen The Beaver but it sounds like one of those movies that the general public wouldn't show up in droves to see... because it makes you think I guess. It was released on the film festival circuit at SXSW here in Austin TX and was a hit. The general public is used to the Mad Max, William Wallace, Sgt. Riggs playing Mel Gibson. He needs to try to bring back his old fluffy, action hero, kill all the bad guys persona if he wants a hit, and I think it's a little too late for that. He can't even direct or star in another Passion of the Christ style movie because the general public will just ride his a** some more.Maybe it's best for him to start doing more of these types of films, just resign himself to playing the roles Bill Murray declines.

Do u realy think he cares//he already a multi millionaire from those people that are so bored that they spend money on movies!!! read a friggin book!!!

"Intended for art-house audiences", I'm so sure. That's the new buzz-phrase for "we just made a big, ol' stinky movie." I suppose 'Gigli' was meant to be an art-house project, too.

HA! Who says so? You? So what! I loved it-it’s clear Mel’s now blacklisted by Hollyweird and they’re desperate to do anything to ruin him..There have been way too many people (Roman Polanski, Mike tyson, Charlie sheen) who have done FAR worse but not received this kind of treatment…Amy, why the hate?

Right on Pete , thats exactly right.

I love how it says 'audience rejects Gibson" as if it's not the media making a case against Gibson, nobody else seems bothered. what's being rejected is the disgusting double standard of the media, we all know he's being 'crucified' for making passion of the Christ. have you heard of sienfeld's kramer being raked over the coals for his foul remarks? bloomberg? or israel for it's geneocide of Palestinians for that matter. spare us the @#$% -i'll see this movie twice just cause i don't like being manipulated by self righteous hypocrites

I had to drive two hours to go see "The Beaver" and I thought Mel Gibson's protean performance was well worth the trip. The fact that this film is in extremely limited release and that it is more of an art house picture than a multiplex phenom seems to be lost on you.

I give Jodie Foster considerable credit for taking such a risk at this stage of her career. The Beaver is quite an unorthodox film that will not appeal to everybody but I found it to be quite moving and special in a lachrymose sort of way. Regarding Gibson, his portrayal of Walter Black is worth the price of admission alone.

Isn't it time we retired this nasty little man?

Apparently, a number of industry shills are trolling the internets today!

Mel Gibson is finished. This movie would never have been made had it gone into production after his little flame up with his ex. The fact that it was released over a year after filming concluding tells you all you need to know about the faith the producers had in this pile of garbage (I refer to the lead, but the movie qualifies as well, no doubt).

Jodie Foster should be ashamed of herself for giving solace to the misogynist anti-Semite!

I saw the film this weekend and can honestly say it was really well done, but the experience of the characters is often so sad that I took that home with me. I can see why the subject matter may not have mainstream appeal--it is definitely not a comedy. But it was sensitively made and the actors, including Mel, were really first rate.

It might have been more plausible and ultimately more successful if they haad used a woodchuck instead of a beaver.

HIS MOVIE CAREER WAS ON LIFE SUPPORT LONG BEFORE THE "THE BEAVER". HIS DRUNKEN RAMBELLINGS, AND DRUNKEN LIFE JUST PUT THE ICEINGS ON HIS CAKE. TIME TO MOVE ASIDE MEL, BYE

It sounds as if this movie is very different from the action-packed fare audiences are used to seeing Mel Gibson star in-that sounds like the more likely reason for the movie's low gross. As for the commenter who made the slanderous reference to "Israel's genocide of Palestinians"-you showed your true colors. The surrounding Arab countries invaded Israel, the so-called "Palestinians" sided with the Arabs and left their homes in Israel because the Arab invaders promised them that all Jews would be driven into the Sea and that the entire Country would then be theirs. Your use of the word "genocide" was the tip off- you're trying to reference the genocide of Jews, among others, during the Holocaust methinks???

Wrong Pete. Movies in only a handful of theaters always pack the house and have huge per-screen averages. But not this one.

 
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