Over a joyous holiday weekend, not even Angelina Jolie could persuade audiences to show up at the multiplex to see a film about the brutal Bosnian war.
The actress’ directorial debut “In the Land of Blood and Honey” opened on Friday and has since grossed $27,827, according to an estimate from distributor FilmDistrict. Playing in three locations, that amounted to a weak per-theater average of $9,276 over the four-day holiday.
The movie was written, directed and produced by Jolie, who did extensive publicity to promote it on TV programs including “60 Minutes” and “Good Morning America.” But the movie is told mostly in Bosnian and other Slavic languages and features actors unknown to Americans, making it a difficult sell for U.S. moviegoers.
“We obviously realize that the subject matter itself is very demanding,” said FilmDistrict’s president of theatrical distribution, Bob Berney. “But Angelina’s name helped tremendously in getting the word out. This appeals to art-house crowds — people interested in politics or history — but I think she definitely helped to expand the audience.”
Audiences were more interested in seeing a movie set around another tragic historical event. Warner Bros. debuted its Stephen Daldry-directed 9/11 drama “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” in six theaters on Sunday, and it has so far grossed $136,000. That gives the movie a decent per-theater average of $22,667.
There has been some question about whether moviegoers would embrace a film centering around the aftermath of the American tragedy. Though well-reviewed, the 9/11 pictures “United 93″ and “World Trade Center” failed to make a big showing at the box office. “Extremely Loud,” adapted from Jonathan Safran Foer’s popular novel, has so far received middling reviews from critics and expands to theaters nationwide on Jan. 20.