It’s hard to get most people to like a movie. It’s even harder to get most people to hate a movie. Cinemas recently saw a reboot of a popular franchise. The most shocking thing about the reboot was that, according to audience research, this film got the worst audience response of the past 40 years.
Audiences really, really hate new horror movie
Unlike its closest cousin, the horror franchise The Ring, The Grudge was never a critical darling. For example, the first film in the series, Ju-on: The Grudge, received a mediocre 3 out of 5 stars from AllMovie. Similarly, the American remake of the film, simply titled The Grudge, has a less than mediocre 39% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. There was a negligible chance the new film in the franchise, also called The Grudge, would be critically respected.
Audiences are a different matter. Chances are this franchise would not have lasted for so long if not for audience demand. Yet, CinemaScore indicates audiences hate the film to a degree they hated very few films over the past 40 years.
IndieWire reports CinemaScore has been around since 1979. CinemaScore remains the gold standard for accurately measuring how much audiences like a film through opinion polling. Shockingly, The Grudge became only the 20th film since 1979 to receive an “F” rating on CinemaScore, meaning it’s tied with 20 other films for the worst response to a movie since the CinemaScore began conducting research.
How did this happen to ‘The Grudge’?
This is utterly incredible. While reviews for The Grudge aren’t exceptional, critics haven’t been decrying it as an all-time bad movie like Battlefield Earth. How did a by-the-numbers horror movie receive such an abysmal response from audiences? According to Box Office Mojo, The Grudge earned $5 million in its first day, which is pretty respectable given it only cost $10 million to produce.
Thanks to its CinemaScore, The Grudge finds itself in disreputable company – or does it? Although very few movies have received an “F” on CinemaScore, several of the “F” films did fine with critics. Steven Soderbergh’s Solaris, a remake of the acclaimed Russian film of the same name, actually did moderately well with critics even though audiences gave it an “F.”
Similarly, the Jennifer Lawrence movie mother! polarized reviewers. Some found it brilliant whereas others found it obvious and thematically lacking. Audiences gave it an “F,” but enough critics championed the film that it’s not without notable fans.
Oddly enough, CinemaScore seems to be especially harsh to horror films. Of the 20 films to get an “F” on CinemaScore, 13 were horror films. The horror films in question were Eye of the Beholder, Lost Souls, Darkness, FeardotCom, Alone in the Dark, Wolf Creek, Bug, the remake of The Wicker Man, I Know Who Killed Me, The Box, The Devil Inside, Silent House, and the aforementioned mother! Although none of these films is widely regarded as a masterpiece, few critics would say these films are the worst of the past 40 years. However, critics and audiences often have a very different attitude towards films.