Although the police raid of New York City’s Stonewall Inn 46 years ago sparked riots that led to a movement impacting millions, the controversial movie based on that seminal event in LGBT history failed to draw a sizable audience on its opening weekend.
Put simply: Stonewall tanked at the box office. Worse than that: it bombed. If the movie Stonewall were a bottle thrown by rioters, it would be an empty plastic bottle that bounced on the ground several feet short of making contact with its target, to the pitiful sound of “boop, bop, boing.”
Stonewall raked in a measly $112,414, as Indiewire reported. The disastrous performance of the film by disaster-movie maven Roland Emrerich made it easily the lowest earning of any new release by several thousand dollars, according to the website.
Given that Stonewall opened in limited release of just 129 theaters, Indiewire estimated that the movie that cost $17 million to make earned an embarrassing average of $871 per theater for the entire weekend, or by our estimates, 0.66 percent of the cost of making the film.
Indiewire calculated that based on the $8.12 cost of an average movie ticket [not even close to what it costs in Los Angeles, but that is the average, says the website], a box office performance as weak as Stonewall’s reveals only 107 people on average went to see the film in each of its theaters's opening weekend showings combined.
Much of the criticism of the film has focused on its casting, based on what was shown in advance screenings and previews. As The Advocate's Daniel Reynolds put it:
"To place the first brick thrown at the onset of the modern LGBT rights movement in the hand of a handsome young white man is not only out of touch with history; from a contemporary standpoint, it is downright offensive. After all, there would be no modern rights movement, no Stonewall, without LGBT people of color."
And he liked the movie.
In case you’re still undecided about whether Stonewall is worth your $8.12 (or likely more), check out what The Advocate has posted about the film: a clip from Stonewall that focuses on the “three-item rule” of that era is here, advocate.com social media guru Reynolds's review of the film is here, Mark Segal’s informed commentary on why he thinks both the movie and the actual event warrant your interest is here, and our entertainment editor Jase Peeples with an excellent, incisive look at what Emmerich and the cast hope will be the impact of their film, here.