Darren Aronofsky, one of America's most-celebrated filmakers has officially bombed at the U.S. box office as critics and viewers alike are blasting his new film, "mother!" Christian audiences are particularly enraged as they see the film, which is steeped in biblical imagery, as a blatant attack on their values from secular Hollywood.
National Review film critic Kyle Smith called the film “the vilest movie ever released by a major Hollywood studio" and a “stain on the reputation” of Paramount Pictures. He slammed the film "as a macabre pastiche of people’s most cherished and deeply held beliefs" – a "grotesque spoof of the Nativity."
The horror film, which stars America's sweetheart Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem, cost $33 million to make and is projected to gross only $9 million at the U.S. box office its opening weekend. The film received an "F" rating on CinemaScore, a rare rebuke from movie goers. The film is currently 68% "Fresh," however, on RottenTomatoes.com.
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Aronofsky, who was raised in a Jewish home in Brooklyn, is best known for his Oscar-nominated film "Black Swan" starring Natalie Portman.
Rolling Stone described the film as a “biblical allegory, with intimations of 'Rosemary’s Baby,' while The Associated Press summed it up as “the Old Testament crashes into modern anxiety."
Some critics have praised the film, with A.O. Scott from the New York Times writing, "Don’t listen to anyone who natters on about how intense or disturbing this movie is; it’s a hoot!"
"Nothing about mother! makes one lick of sense," writes Observer's Rex Reed, who also called the film "two hours of pretentious twaddle" and gave it zero out of four stars. Ouch.
The box office was dominated by another horror film over the weekend, after shattering September records, "It", based on the Stephen King novel of the the same name, is expected to top the North American box office for the weekend ending September 17. The movie brought in $123 million in its debut weekend last week.
Reuters contributed to this report