Gus Van Sant’s $8 million dollar film, RESTLESS, with Mia Wasikowska and Henry Hopper, opened in just 5 theaters nationwide taking in a horrible $17,300 box office take. Unless there are plans for more theaters to show this film or to build an audience, then it becomes the biggest flop of Gus Van Sant’s career by far. The movie was also co-produced by Ron Howard and his daughter, Bryce Dallas Howard as well as Bryan Glazer. It had to be a huge disappointment to them as well. Sony Columbia Pictures had a shaky history of support for the film after an extended period of re-editing the film seemed to go on for months and months, and then the film was pulled for introduction at the Sundance Festival by Columbia. which finally wanted little involvement with the film, and then this past weekend’s flop opening in just 5 theaters nationwide.
More than a year ago, Gus Van Sant’s Restless Productions used by nearly 100 year old Clinton Market grocery store in Portland, Oregon to film some scenes for the movie and I got to meet the cast members. Mia Wasikowska and Henry Hopper were very nice young actors, and I wished both great success with this film. It’s so unfortunate that it’s turned out to be such a flop. Mia Wasikowska and Henry Hopper are both very fine actors and certainly deserved far better than the flop opening of this film this past weekend. This film has to be better than that. But Rotten Tomatoes did give this film just a poor 37% critical approval rating, claiming that the only really good performance in this film was from Mia Wasikowska, and nobody else, directors included put in much effort here. That’s a real black eye to Gus Van Sant and certainly lowers his credentials a few notches.
Compared to so many great films connected to Ron Howard, it had to be a real disappointment to see $8 million burnt up on this film. But, compared to others films that lost 10’s of millions like CONAN or COWBOYS & ALIENS, the $8 million dollar loss is less terrible, I suppose.
Neighbors in the Clinton Street area of Southeast Portland were sure excited about this film which became a huge event for the neighborhood, with some local homes as well as the historic Clinton Street Market all used in the film. Now, the word of this terrible weekend box office disaster for the film is a real heartbreak for what might have been a major film if only it had been a better movie. It was supposed to be a quirky little love story film.