Moviegoers Give ‘Winter’s Tale’ the Cold Shoulder

Source: Warner Bros. PicturesWinter’s Tale, a romantic fantasy film starring Colin Farrell, failed to attract significant crowds despite its timely opening on Valentine’s Day. Per Box Office Mojo, Winter’s Tale is estimated to have raked in just under $3.7 million on Friday, putting it in a distant sixth place behind The Monuments Men, Robocop, Endless Love, About Last Night, and The Lego Movie.

Some critics are already predicting that Winter’s Tale will be the first big flop of 2014. Based on Friday night’s domestic take, the movie is expected to bring in less than $10 million over the entire opening weekend.  According to an MPAA press release, the Warner Bros. production spent approximately $70 million shooting the New York City scenes and film critic Roger Friedman estimated that its total budget may have reached as high as $150 million.

Fortunately for Warner Bros., the studio will likely recoup any losses it takes from Winter’s Tale with the highly successful The Lego Movie. The Lego Movie continued its box office dominance on Friday, taking in over $13 million for a total of more than $93 million since its opening last weekend.

Winter’s Tale is based on a Mark Helprin novel of the same name and was written and directed by Akiva Goldsman, who previously had success with the screenplay for the Oscar-winning A Beautiful Mind. However, critics have been panning Goldsman’s film adaptation of the popular novel and Roger Ebert called it a “mess” that will fail to satisfy fans of the book, as well as those who have never read it.

The Salt Lake Tribune’s Scott D. Pierce also characterized Winter’s Tale as a “mess of a movie” that tries to be too many things at one. “[A] historical romance, a time-traveling tale, a battle between good and evil that features demons, Satan and a magical horse…and you’ll sit there saying ‘Huh?’ a lot,” noted Pierce.

Critics on Rotten Tomatoes were similarly critical of the film’s convoluted plot. According to critics’ consensus on Rotten Tomatoes, “Winter’s Tale tries to retain the grandiose sweep of its source novel, but fails to fill it in with characters worth rooting for or a sensible plot. “ Only 15 percent of critics on Rotten Tomatoes have given the film a positive review, although 52 percent of the audience ratings for Winter’s Tale were 3.5 stars or higher.

Besides starring Colin Farrell as Peter Lake, the film also features Jessica Brown Findlay as Beverly Penn, Lake’s love interest. Russell Crowe plays the demonic villain — Pearly Soames — and Will Smith is featured in a cameo role as Satan.

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