Brad Pitt’s ‘Killing Them Softly’ Gets Slaughtered by Holdovers [Video]

Brad Pitt’s “Killing Them Softly” barely had a pulse at the box office this weekend. Directed by Andrew Dominik, the violent crime drama becomes only the eighth movie ever to receive the failing grade.

“Killing Them Softly,” an underworld crime drama starring Brad Pitt has not done so well over the weekend against James Bond and glitter covered vampires. Even if those films weren’t around the film may not have faired well.

It’s a good film, just not a slick movie for general audiences. More of a procedural in how it plays out – it’s violent but not a big action driven story.

Directed by Andrew Dominik, the violent crime drama becomes only the eighth movie ever to receive the failing grade. George Clooney’s “Solaris” and “Killing Them Softly” are the only non-horror titles among the bunch.

Not only did the crime flick debut with a weak $7 million, according to an estimate from distributor The Weinstein Co., but audiences hated it. Those who saw the film assigned it a rare average grade of F, according to market research firm CinemaScore. The last movie to earn that grade was January’s horror film “The Devil Inside.”

Pitt’s movie got slaughtered by a handful of films that have been available to moviegoers for weeks. Young women have yet to tire of “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2,” which was No. 1 for the third consecutive weekend. “Skyfall,” now the highest-grossing James Bond film by far, took the runner-up position with $17 million this weekend.

“Lincoln,” from DreamWorks and Disney, grossed $13.5 million for a domestic total of $48.9 million. The historical drama, starring Daniel Day Lewis as the storied president, continues to be a hit with adults.

The weekend after Thanksgiving is never a huge one at the box office. In fact, no film has debuted with over $10 million since 2005’s “Aeon Flux.” Still, ticket sales were up 42% compared with the same weekend last year, as the LA Times writes.

Pitt’s Plan B production company produced the $15 million “Killing Them Softly,” based on George V. Higgins’ 1974 book “Cogan’s Trade,” with Inferno Entertainment and Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures, which put up some of the financing.

Unfortunately, the film marks the lowest wide-release opening for Pitt in nearly two decades. He hasn’t had a live-action film perform this badly in its first weekend since the beginning of his career, when his 1994 romantic comedy “The Favor” launched with $1.5 million.

“Killing Them Softly” is the latest in a long line of movies showing the relationship between the mafia and business. In this case, the year is 2008, and business is bad, but the film isn’t–it’s an entertaining adaptation of a George Higgins book.

Higgins had a fantastic ear for dialogue, and this movie focuses on a yacky group of low lifes in a city that could be New Orleans or Boston.

The movie tell a story of  two small-time criminals (Scoot McNairy and Ben Mendelsohn), which rob a mafia-protected poker game run by Markie (Ray Liotta), the local mob boss (Richard Jenkins) hits hit man Jackie Cogan (Brad Pitt) to right the wrong. He, in turn, brings in his associate Mickey (James Gandolfini) to help out.

However the movie is elegantly photographed, especially so for a film whose color palette is washed out browns, greys, blacks and whites. Some of the violence is stylized and feels out of place for the tone Dominik sets up early on.

Throughout the film there are multiple references to a softness of the American male and chaos caused by bureaucracy – even the mob has to have jobs approved like middle management handles cost concerns, says the Star News Online.

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