There wasn’t much going on with the box office this weekend with Tenet continuing to struggle in theaters domestically (release it to PVOD!), while Mulan continues to struggle in theaters internationally. Here in the United States, we can at least blame the pandemic for the failures of Tenet in theaters, but over in China — where a movie called Eight Hundred has earned $400 million since August 21st — Mulan has only managed to earn $36 million after two weeks. Meanwhile, estimates for how much Mulan has earned on VOD here in the states vary from $30 million to $260 million, although even the lowest number has surpassed Tenet in the states, which has earned $36 million after adding $4.7 million this weekend. Tenet, however, has done fairly well overseas, where it has surpassed $200 million after a solid debut in Japan.
Beyond that, there’s not much to talk about. Every other movie that mounted an effort in theaters struggled mightily: The Secrets We Keep, $90,000; The Nest, $62,000; and the widest new release of the weekend, Infidel, only earned $1.5 million in over 1700 theaters, which is less than the $1.6 million New Mutants earned in its fourth weekend, bringing its total to $17.7 million.
Indeed, it’s clear that most moviegoers stayed home to watch the Emmy Awards, to enjoy the NFL, and to catch up on Netflix. Speaking of the streamer, their big new release of the weekend was The Devil All the Time, starring Tom Holland and Robert Pattinson. Despite all that star power, the film didn’t do as well as an obscure 2016 English/French film called The Take.
The Take — known as Bastille Day internationally — stars Idris Elba and Game of Thrones‘ Richard Madden. The film actually did decent at the box office internationally, earning $14 million (on a $4 million budget), but almost no one saw it stateside, where it earned only $50,000 in 100 theaters. It didn’t earn much by way of critical raves, either, scoring 48 percent on the Tomatometer, as well as a dismal 41 percent from audiences.
And yet, it’s the top film on Netflix this weekend. Superficially, it’s easy to understand why: it’s a movie from Idris Elba and Richard Madden newly released to Netflix, and I’m sure that there was a heavy sampling of the movie. However, one thing we do know about Netflix’s metrics is that they count it as a view anytime someone watches more than two minutes of a movie. There were probably a lot of people who watched The Take without finishing it, if comments on Twitter are any indication.
And why is that? Because the film is half in English, and half in French, there weren’t English subtitles for all of the French-speaking parts. I checked, and can confirm these accounts:
i just watched this even though on netflix the title is "the take". so many of the french conversations are not subtitled for whatever reason, I don't know who the audience was or why they chose to make both idris and richard americans in france pic.twitter.com/QA37Xu4cbt
— samantha (@samanthamarie) September 17, 2020
Damn it. Only watched a small part of The Take on Netflix last night, because now I have to learn French.
— Anthony Méndez (@AnthonyVO) September 20, 2020
Wtf arent the subtitles popping up on The Take ? Are we pose to just understand the French? Tf @netflix
— Devil Dick Connoisseur 👑🇯🇲 (@__GeorgiePorgie) September 19, 2020
Hey @netflix The movie “The Take” seems dope if I was able to understand it. Half the movie is in French without subtitles… I Should of paid attention during French class in high school…
— Thebookofray1 (@thebookofray1) September 20, 2020
Hey @netflix does The Take not have subtitles/translation for the french? Missed half the dialogue. I tried turning on the subtitles but it only came on when english was spoken.
— -j (@mannonjay) September 19, 2020
um this french movie on @netflix (“the take”) only has subtitles for the english language scenes
— peter honeyman (@peterhoneyman) September 19, 2020
So, let that be a warning to any of you who cannot speak French but love Idris and Richard Madden enough to give The Take a sampling. If you don’t mind not understanding half the movie, and are just tuning into to watch Idris in action, be prepared to take it in while not understanding what is happening.