Box office sales the second weekend of Birth of a Nation's run don't bode well for the movie's financial prospects long-term.
The Hollywood Reporternoted Wednesday morning that sales for Nate Parker's slave rebellion docu-drama dived 60 percent its second week in theaters, a significant dip. Anticipation for the film was eclipsed when 1999 rape allegations against Parker resurfaced during the actor's press tour, sparking a heated debate about whether or not viewers should refrain from supporting the movie.
The question now is how much Fox Searchlight will lose after paying a record $17.5 million for worldwide rights to the slave-rebellion drama at the Sundance Film Festival and an estimated $18 million more on marketing. Birth had earned just $12.3 million as of Oct. 17.
It added that some Fox insiders believe international TV deals, combined with streaming revenue, could help put a dent in the deficit by about $5 million. But a box office analyst told THR the studio was so large it could end up being considered "a rounding error."
"While Birth of a Nation may have had some commercial limitations due to its intensity, period setting and subject matter, the promise of success that was once seemingly preordained when the film was picked up at Sundance was derailed by the unfortunate extemporaneous baggage that followed the movie once news of the Parker controversy broke," Paul Dergarabedian, another box office analyst, said.