Oldboy Poster - 20131203Earlier today, Anime News Network reported that Spike Lee’s adaptation of Oldboy grossed $1,282,665 over the extended Thanksgiving weekend. The film was shown on 583 screens, leading to a per-screen average take of $2,200.11. Discounting the holiday, Oldboy took in $885,382 in the period of November 29 through December 1. And, from this, it averaged $1,518.66 per theater.

Before we go any further, did anybody honestly expect a different outcome? No? Good.

In the lead-up to the film’s première, Spike Lee’s Oldboy adaptation has seen a fairly consistent barrage of negative news. From graphic designer Juan Luis Garcia’s claims that Spike Lee used his poster designs without permission, to various projections that the film would under-perform. At the same time, the film was panned by critics and viewers alike. So, to see that the film took in no more than half of its projected earnings should come as little of a surprise.

At the current trajectory, Oldboy doesn’t look like it will profit off of its estimated $30 million budget. And, like many anime and manga adaptations before it[1], the film will undoubtedly fall into the bargain bins where it will be soundly forgotten. For many, it’ll be but a blip on the radar. For others, it’ll be another black mark on the career of Spike Lee, whose filmmaking talents brought the world classics like Do The Right Thing and Malcolm X. It may earn a cult following down the line, but I have my sincere doubts that the film will amount to little more than a recorded misstep in Lee’s directorial career.

[1]: Technically, this is an adaptation of Park Chan-wook’s film, which took many liberties with the source material.