Hail, Caesar! Joel and Ethan Coen Satire of Hollywood is Commercial Disappointment

Universal’s Hail, Caesar!, a satire of the Hollywood studio system from Joel and Ethan Coen brothers, fared modestly among the new entrants during the Super Bowl weekend.

It grossed a very mediocre $11.4 million for a second place finish after the DreamWorks animated feature, Kung Fu Panda 3, which added $21 million to its $69 million domestic figure.

A C-minus CinemaScore spells trouble for the film’s long-term prospects, signaling the send-up is dividing audiences.  Hail, Caesar! got decent, but not great reviews.  It scored about 76 percent favorable reviews on the RottenTomatoes scale.

Universal distribution chief Nicholas Carpou said that CinemaScore may not capture the brothers’ fan base, noting that previous films from the pair, such as The Ladykillers (C CinemaScore) and Intolerable Cruelty (C+) have scored poorly, but showed some endurance.

The brothers’ biggest hit, True Grit, starring Jeff Bridges, earned a B+ CinemaScore.

“There are some films that really defy polling in a general sense,” said Carpou. “The Coen brothers are legitimate auteur filmmakers and they have a loyal fan base that is coming out to see this movie.”

Hail, Caesar! stars Josh Brolin, Channing Tatum, George Clooney and Scarlett Johansson.

The film, which cost $22 million to produce, was distributed by Universal across 2,222 locations. The opening weekend crowd was 52% male, 69% over the age of 35, and 86% white.