By now, you may have heard the news that the Uma Thurman film Motherhood opened earlier this month in the UK in one theater and was seen by approximately 12 people in the first 72 hours. That’s an opening weekend gross of £88, or roughly $130. When contacted by The Guardian, producer Jana Edelbaum said, “Think how much crap succeeds at the cinema. Motherhood is not bad. It’s a very decent movie. I’ve seen movies that are not half as good.” Metrodome, the company that marketed the movie, told the paper, “Inevitably some films will work better on some platforms than others. In this particular case the DVD was stronger than the theatrical result.” (Yes, apparently, it’s already out of…theater, and on DVD.)
It’d be easy to blame the reviews. EW’s Owen Gleiberman gave it one of the kinder ones, a B-, when the film was released domestically last fall. (It grossed about $50,000 in its opening weekend in 48 theaters, according to Box Office Mojo.) But I think this film’s theatrical fate was written long before that.
1. Thurman’s red hair. Anything that reminds an audience of Batman & Robin = not good.
2. It’s about a woman who tries to hold onto her “creative” side while being a mother who, in Owen’s words, “turns every task — shopping for a birthday party, retaining a parking space — into an operatic fit of neurosis.” Moms who would relate to her probably don’t have time to see a movie on the weekend, and in no way does a working girl want to spend her Saturday being told this is what awaits her.
3. The trailer (after the jump) makes it so clear that this is a movie you buy off of On Demand on a rainy Saturday when you know your money would be better spent on The Hurt Locker, but you just can’t handle the intensity at the moment, and you’ve already ordered Renée Zellweger’s New in Town. There are some chick flicks that just aren’t meant to play on the big screen. One of the tip-offs: The male lead. No offense to Anthony Edwards, because I love him, but he’s not a movie star. He’s the kind of guy you’d invite into your home for an intimate conversation (on your TV).
What should Uma Thurman do next? (She’s currently filming the saucy film Bel Ami with Robert Pattinson, which could make her relevant again.) I’d like to see her find a supporting role like she had in 1996’s The Truth About Cats & Dogs and get the female fanbase behind her. A mainstream role where she’s put-together on the outside (otherwise, we don’t buy it) and insecure on the inside. Something with subtlety — not a caricature. What do you think?