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“Booksmart,” Olivia Wilde’s sensational directorial debut that IndieWire recently named one of the 10 best movies of 2019 so far, has underperformed at the box office since opening nationwide May 24. The coming-of-age comedy has managed to hit the $20 million mark in the U.S., which makes it better than the box office bomb some feared after its low opening but hardly the breakout hit a crowdpleaser comedy with rave reviews should be. In an industry poll published by The New York Times, none other than blockbuster director J.J. Abrams laments the underperformance of “Booksmart” with moviegoers.
“When you have a movie that’s as entertaining, well-made, and well-received as ‘Booksmart’ not doing the business it should have, it really makes you realize that the typical Darwinian fight to survive is completely lopsided now,” Abrams said. “Everyone’s trying to figure out how we protect the smaller films that aren’t four-quadrant mega-releases. Can they exist in the cinemas?”
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Abrams’ fears are echoed by the likes of actress Jessica Chastain, former Sony chairman Amy Pascal, Fox Searchlight co-chairman Nancy Utley, and many more of the industry’s biggest names in The Times’ survey. The rise of streaming giants like Netflix has led to widespread fears about the future of movie theaters and traditional exhibitionism. “Bridesmaids” director Paul Feig...
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