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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


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)

The writer is exactly right. Won't pay to see another Mel Gibson movie. Same for Tom Cruise. Both are nut cases.

I like Jodie Foster, but I'm not going out to the movies to see a Mel Gibson movie. I may catch it on Netflix.

Uh, hello? Just look at the premise -- this film was NEVER going to appeal to a mass audience. : P

From what I saw of the trailer it was more to do with the script than Mel.

"Audiences reject Mel Gibson...", another fine example of journalistic mind-reading, not unlike "Wall Street is concerned about..."
Is it possible, just possible, that many people thought it sounded like a really dumb movie?

Let's hope that Mr. Mel held on to his Beaver puppet!

I still love Mel Gibson. I own several of his movies. He is a wonderful actor and has made some mistakes. He is an alcoholic and it is an illness. That Russian chick went after him for money. He was "had" by that lady. He was married for a long time and has several kids. I hate to see people judge him when they can't possibly understand his life and the stress of making it to the very top of fame. There is nowhere to go but down. He is a great actor; one of the bests. All this "witch hunt" mentality these days is just sad. He is a human being just like the rest of us. I've sinned too. The difference mine wasn't publicized for the world to see. I guarantee you many that slam him have made some bad mistakes themselves. HYPROCRITES! I think jealousy applies too! He is an overachiever and a perfectionist. That makes for a very difficult, but successful life.

The film fails because of him, not in spite of the subject matter. He has made documented homophobic and antisemitic screeds, his 'Passion' film was cryptofascist in both source material, intent, and content ('Yeshua ben-Miriam' was the fabrication of an early 1st century revelatory Graeco-Roman death cult, and the 'ministry' and 'passion' never occurred), and he was raised by a documented Shoah denier who, also, has made antisemitic comments. Horrorwood mediasaurs have used him over the years to sell tickets, and the idea that Horrorwood is related to artistry is an illusion. And we have seen documented abusive language directed toward women. Horrorwood is a business, not an art (we can easily point to the fact that, during the Shoah, the exterminations were NEVER referenced in ANY film; studios were afraid of the antisemitic HUAC), and Mr Gibson is NOT an artist. He should retire. No amount of semantic tap-dancing by him and his 'handlers' can erase what he has said, done, and continues to say and do. It is time for Ms Foster to apologize.
STEPHAN PICKERING / Chofetz Chayim ben-Avraham

Brainwashed religious sicko mel.

And by not getting a wider theatrical release no public "buzz" can be created so the "legs" a movie needs to be successful with zero advertising will not be forthcoming. This article, one sided, this Hollywood, controlled by the exact crowd Mel ranted against... end of story.

Eric738, you are just a moron. Get your facts straight before you attempt to make educated comments. Thanks..

"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." No, Richie (Riche? Really? Grow up!) actually I think it's ALL about Gibson's behavior.

I will be really disappointed if this movie doesn't go wide release, especially after all the previews you see of it in just about every movie. I think it was a mistake to release it as limited. I live 40 minutes from Boston where it was released, so it makes it tough to see if I have to drive so far just to see a movie. I know all my friends and family are hoping for the may 20th release. What i'm confused about is Thor was released in 3955 locations and made 66 million dollars, The Beaver was released in 22 locations and made $104,000. Here is some simple math if The Beaver simply did as "bad" as they say it did by averaging what it did the first weekend($4727) and went wide release of 3955 locations it would make 18.69 million dollars. The film is budgeted at $21 million. I think this is a pretty easy decision you make your budget after 1 week if wide release of the worst case scenario. I believe though if it goes wide it will attract more viewers and you will get a better average.

This is a good film. Mr. Gibson may have problems off screen, and if audience members cannot separate their feelings from his performance, they are asking too much from an actor. No one will hold up to scrutiny if you compare them to yourselves. Oh wait. You have made mistakes too? Perhaps you should publicly carry the burden of your past around your neck like our celebrities who struggle with addiction, abuse, and as the film so adroitly pinpoints, mental illness.

Hats off to the cast and crew for making this film, and thanks Ms. Foster for reaching out and hiring Mel Gibson. Hopefully, he will pull himself up and make something out of the rest of his brilliant career.

I don't think it has anything to do with the actor or the movie. I think it has everything to do with the limited opening and the fact that it opened the same weekend as THOR. Yeah I see a load of people passing up one of the major blockbusters of the summer to go see something called the Beaver about a man and his puppet.

Mel Gibson's work has impressed me and, on occasion, really moved me. I appreciate such memories. Only saints are perfect, why do some people jump on the bandwagon to ostracize Mr. Gibson?! I sincerely think such people are using this wonderfully creative person as a whipping post for their own shortcomings. Today is a different world - our politicians, big and little, absolutely lie to us. So does big business and the media. Why not cut this artist some slack? Besides, apparently the 'sensational' fodder only comes from a human being who's unfortunately been very temporarily under the effect of alcohol or anger. I would expect that he is, in the high 90s percentage, a kind and truthful person.

Seems the Times has been using a Jump to Conclusions Mat. Maybe audiences simply don't like this movie because it's about a man talking to a puppet! If Gibson were the star of "Thor," he'd probably be forgiven for all his stupidity.

Actually, I didn't even know it was out yet at all. Its not at a theater near me, but when it does open, I do plan on seeing it. I think the reporter is a little biased - to assume a movie does badly because of the bad press an actor has received is silly. The reporter first states the film was rejected by movie-goers because of Mel's history, and then cites insiders who state the movie has a smaller appeal because of its nature. It's almost as if the reporter wants this movie to fail.

Mel Bubby ... No being clever nor thrifty when I tell you to embrace Tony Montana. Buy the PLAY of "Dial M For Murder" and play "Tony". Hurry! Avarice fades, its why marriages last.

Does this mean that Jodie Foster's career is over too? It doesn't appear that this was a monologue movie. Why is Jodie Foster courageous for taking on this "challenging" role while Mel Gibson is being "crucified" for his outstanding performance?

I will never ever spend an other dime on any Mel Gibson movie. It is time the public makes a stament toward what we are willing to tolarate in any actor and how we spend our moneys suporting people that do not represent our views or what is expected of any person actor or not.

What a piece of crap article this is. $4700 per screen for a movie no one heard of?!?! Seems to me, people went out of their way to see this. "Thor" was on god knows how many screens, had probably $50 million in promotion, and it's a piece of garbage.

This piece is more about lazy journalism, piling garbage onto a man that's emptied a clip into both feet, and putting garbage out into the public domain because...well, it's easy.

The real story is.....for 22 bleeping screens and no promotion, it actually did VERY well. My god....you clowns who write these pieces are so predictable...

Please, for the love of god, go write something interesting....

Mel Gibson has lost his appeal. No one can deny he has aged 25 years in the the last ten. Certainly his is a lesson for all people, especially those in the public eye; take good care of your body and your reputation. Once diminished they rarely rebound. Anger, bitterness, and ugliness has a way of seeping out that no amount of Botox or PR spins can hide. Who wants to pay for a movie to see that when you can stay home and see it is free on Fox news ?

Mel Gibson is a sad, pathetic has-been.

Just wait a minute…After reading this garbage can review and a few obvious Hollyweird power hungry commenters, it’s clear Mel will not be forgiven by a certain segment of the population.. Why is that? If you’re Catholic it seems acceptable to be bashed and insulted all day every day but now if a drunken man insults a Jewish person it’s entirely a more heinous insult?? Why? In Hollyweird is one religion more important than the other? It would seem so and that it just flat out wrong. The reviewer was unable to separate herself from giving an unbiased review- here I’ll give you my review; it was a thoughtful, eye opening portrayal of a man suffering from mental illness and the effects on his family.
Well worth seeing! A

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