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Is This Really The Worst Film Of The Year?

Tuesday 3 December 2013, 15:29

Mark Kermode Mark Kermode

Forbes magazine recently announced The Fifth Estate to be the biggest financial flop of the year. But is this really the worst film of 2013?

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    Comment number 1.

    I enjoyed the 5th Estate, felt like it wanted to be a Jason Bourne film a bit too much though. Was refreshing to see a film take on a contemporary issue at my local multiplex.

    It was better than Superman IV: The Quest for Peace which made me accidentally throw my mother in law out of a window.

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    Comment number 2.

    What I keep thinking about is, should a filmmaker wait a certain amount of time before tackling a current subject ? I mean for crying out loud we don't even know the end of Julian Assange's story yet.

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    Comment number 3.

    If we're judging films based entirely on money taken, then Scott Pilgrim is one of the worst films of recent times. And I don't want to live in a world where Scott Pilgrim is one of the worst films in years.

    In other words, no, the Fifth Estate isn't the worst film of the year. It made little money and was one of the least successful films of the year, but we have to judge films pretty much entirely on content, and there have been many worse films this year.

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    Comment number 4.

    After Earth - Ripd - The Lone Ranger - not that i've seen them

    zero care about box office - haven't seen the fifth estate - dont plan to either

    i tend to only watch bad trailers rarely bad films

    so to me Elysium was the failure of 2013 just because it SHOULD of been so much better

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    Comment number 5.

    I haven't seen the Fifth Estate (and to be frank, I'm not intending to).

    How much a film loses depends on how much was spent on a film. Like with box office successes, flops do not show the mirits of a film. If it did, Avatar and Titanic would be the best films ever. The box office gross shows how many people went to see a film but not how many people liked it. Whether you liked it or not, you still paid to see it. Also, it doesn't take into account what was out at the same time. I suppose the box office gross shows how appealing a film is to the public rather than the end result.

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    Comment number 6.

    If The Fifth Estate is the worst film of 2013 just because it lost money, than that means Iron Man 3 is the best film of 2013. Both movies: not bad, but not good either. Worst film I've seen so far this year; a tie between Hangover 3 or Movie 43. Best film; Gravity, Act of Killing, Only God Forgives, Blackfish, The Master, About Time... (havent seen everything yet and probably forgetting something here)

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    Comment number 7.

    Obviously judging a film by how much money it initially makes at cinemas is utterly daft. By that reckoning Blade Runner, It's A Wonderful Life, Brazil and countless other stone cold classics are bad films.

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    Comment number 8.

    Wasn't at all surprised to hear The Fifth Estate's the biggest flop of 2013; in the interests of certain bodies, such a story couldn't be seen to be critically or financially validated.

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    Comment number 9.

    So its finally come down to this. Judging whether a film is good or not by its bix office takings. Not only is Forbes playing in an area that it doesn't know about, but they are getting their facts wrong like the Daily Fail. If this is how films are judged, then Only God Forgives must be the worst film of 2013?! And Iron Man 3 must be the best film of 2013!? Can Forbes stick to reporting financial topics rather then muscling in on cinema.

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    Comment number 10.

    How much money the movie makes only depends on how many people intend to see, and how available the movie was for them. It's not a consequence of how "good" the movie is, whatever "good" is. Look at "Frances Ha" and "Hansel & Gretel", one has made 15 times more money than the other, and is 15 times worse.

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    Comment number 11.

    Blade Runner, and The Shawshank Redemption were considered to be box office flops (both taking in about $28m, while costing $28m and $25m respectively), but these were both films that have stood the test of time, and were both Oscar nominees.
    I haven't seen the Fifth Estate, but given Julian Assange's view of it, I'm curious as to where it falls between being true to life, and highly embellishing on reality.

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    Comment number 12.

    I thought it was at the very least thought provoking, and "three stars" a reasonable "score". I read Julian Assange's letter to Benedict Cumberpatch before I saw it which made me look at it more quizzically. A film's success should not be measured in financial terms alone, and there is too much instant valuation these days. How many great films now considered classics failed on initial release, not that I'm saying The Fifth Estate is likely to become a classic.......but who knows how the future will judge??

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    Comment number 13.

    I also thought The Fifth Estate was a descent movie. 3/5 is what I rated it too on my personal scale of 1: Awful; 2: Not recommended; 3: Recommended; 4: Highly recommended; and 5: Absolute must see.

    Films that I've seen and rated as a 1 this year are -
    The Counsel(l)or
    The Purge
    Django Unchained

    I know Mark liked Stoker, but personally if that was Jungian symbolism then you can keep it. I also know that Django was hugely popular, but I think I've just about had it with Tarantino now. I found Django tasteless to the point of being disgusting and I think he needs reigning in.

    On the point of the money films make I don't think that this is important at all. In fact, I don't even know or care what films cost or make at the box office, etc. Cleopatra (1963) and Metropolis (1927) almost bankrupt their studios, but both films remain iconic today. So I'd say money has no part to play in a critique.

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    Comment number 14.

    There's a whiff of lazy journalism at work here. Just equating box office losses as a mark of being a bad movie is plain wrong because the corollary is that box office success would be a mark of quality and we'd be here lauding the Transformers movies as works of greatness.

    One of the biggest flops of all time is Heaven's Gate and yet is that really the worst movie of all time? It's got problems, sure, but there's also a lot of quality to that movie as well. I know people who refuse to watch it purely because they've heard stories of its financial failure and think, therefore, that there's no other redeeming feature to it. The price tags are the beginning and the end of the story.

    These stories were written by staff writers, I've noticed, not film critics. They don't have to trawl through all kinds of gems and dross. I wonder if any of them went to see that giant elephant in the room, the truly worst movie of 2013, the one that a film critic and film fans instantly know was the worst but a staff writer on a newspaper might not....Movie 43.

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    Comment number 15.

    You cannot judge films on financial success. Surely how well they do at the cinema is all down to how well they are promoted before release?

    For instance, Pearl Harbour is one of the worst films of all time but financially it did amazingly well. All down to promotion and us being told it's the most expensive film ever made. It made you intrigued to see what the fuss was about. In that case it turned out to be nothing but we all flocked in and handed over our money anyway despite it being pants.

    But, if you want the worst film of the year financially, 'Run For Your Wife' is the worst film of the year. I heard it took less than £1000 at the box office.

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    Comment number 16.

    I thought The Times might be having a sly dig at Kermode's over-generous reviews when they said he only gave it 3 stars.

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    Comment number 17.

    Actually, I think it has been one of the best years for films and this year's new release in ages in quantity.

    I take little notice of stars as "review inflation" means a whole
    Wheel-barrow of stars is equal to about 0.001 star anyway.

    5th Estate sounds really boring and trivialising. It should have been a documentary. Dramatising it sort of cliche's it: |Voice over| "One man found the truth - They would stop at nothing to... stop him! - He loved her, did she love him? An impossible journey; an impossible story. In a world of four walls, nobody was meant to find... the fifth estate! Out in cinemas this Friday!! The film they did not want you to watch!!"

    Reaction: *Yawn*

    Poking fun aside at banal media marketing, I still have the really good films to complete seeing yet.

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    Comment number 18.

    Even though it's only been open in America for a few days, Spike Lee's 'version' of Oldboy has apparently done quite bad in American theatres (rightly so). A number of reasons though; including it's timing (Thanksgiving weekend - not really a 'family film'), it's competitors (Hunger Games) and probably the die-hard fans' stance on Oldboy being remade in the first place. It took $850,000 in America in it's opening weekend, and cost an estimated £30 million to make. Will be interesting to see how it fares worldwide. 

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    Comment number 19.

    I never saw the film because it was never shown at any of my local cinemas. I wonder if this was the case elsewhere?

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    Comment number 20.

    I have no intention of seeing The Fifth Estate for the sole reason that good biopics need a certain (time) distance from their subject matter to ensure creative reflection and avoid saturation, especially in the case of media "phenomena". All the President's Men could succeed as a topical film because it was made in an era before the Internet guaranteed instant saturation.

    But of course The Fifth Estate is not the worst film of the year. I suspect Forbes' harsh judgement is largely politically motivated, the magazine, and what's more its advertising clients, simply being opposed to what Wikileaks does and stands for.


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