Brian Banks, the inspirational true story of a football player who was wrongly convicted of rape but later cleared his name, got off to a sluggish start at the weekend box office.
The Bleecker Street release opened with a muted $2.1 million from 1,240 locations, according to Comscore. That was only enough for a 12th place finish and a $1,730 per theater average. While not a disastrous opening, the film didn’t exactly score a touchdown.
The drama had been highly anticipated — particularly in Southern California — where the real Banks grew up, but moviegoers failed to materialize in big numbers.
Elsewhere at the box office, Fast and Furious: Presents Hobbs and Shaw took the top spot with an estimated $25.4 million in its second weekend. Horror film Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark debuted in second place with an impressive $20.8 million.
Holdover The Lion King was third with $20 million. Dora And The Lost City of Gold debuted in fourth with $17 million. Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood was fifth with $11.6 million. Despite having an A-list cast, The Kitchen starring Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish, and Elisabeth Moss melted down with $5.5 million and a seventh place opening.
While those who did pay to see Brian Banks gave the film high scores, critics were underwhelmed and only handed it a 56 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Of the 54 reviews on the site, critics offered similar complaints saying the movie was “crippled” by its structure, suffered from “formulaic” storytelling, and was hurt by a “lack of spirit.”
The biopic is directed by Tom Shadyac from a script written by Doug Atchison. Aldis Hodge stars in the title role. Sherri Shepherd, Greg Kinnear, and Xosha Roquemore co-star, with the real Brian Banks serving as an executive producer.
The film is inspired by Banks’ deferred dream of joining the NFL and his unjust treatment by the legal system. When he was a high school All-American star in Long Beach, California, Banks landed a scholarship to USC and dreamed of a future in the NFL.
But that bright future suddenly dimmed when he was falsely accused of rape by a fellow student. Instead of fighting the charges, which came with a possible sentence of 41 years to life, Banks took a plea deal on bad legal advice. He spent six years in prison before he was paroled as a registered sex offender.
Nearly a decade later, his accuser admitted she made the story up. Banks’ loyal mom, played by Sherri Shepherd, worked with the California Innocence Project to clear his name.
In 2012, the court removed his designation as a sex offender, allowing him to pursue his professional football dreams. Banks signed with the Atlanta Falcons and spent one season on the field before he was released. He was later hired to work in the NFL’s Department of Operations.