‘Chappaquiddick’ Triples Dour Hollywood Media Predictions on Opening Weekend

By Craig Bannister | April 9, 2018 | 11:32am EDT
Ted Kennedy apologizes for leaving the scene of his fatal car accident in 1969. (Screenshot)

A film about Ted Kennedy’s deadly 1969 scandal surrounding a young woman’s drowning in a vehicle driven by the late senator has far surpassed box office predictions in its opening weekend.

Hollywood trade publications had dismissed the film, with Variety predicting it would draw as little as $2 million in receipts in its first weekend:

“Two other films getting a wide release this weekend are independent dramas ‘Chappaquiddick’ and ‘The Miracle Season,’ both pacing for lower openings.

Chappaquiddick” is aiming for $4 million at 1,500 locations, though analysts suggest $2 million might be a more realistic marker. Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios spent $4 million to acquire the film and committed $16 million in P&A.”

But, the film actually ended up taking in more three times the "more realistic" prediction by raking in more than six million dollars in its first weekend, surprising trade magazines like the The Hollywood Reporter, which attributed the film’s success to a “notably older audience”:

“Chappaquiddick also came in ahead of expectations, opening to $6.2 million — and with a notably older audience (35 percent of ticket buyers over the age of 55). Inspirational film The Miracle Season debuted to $4.1 million for LD Entertainment.”

NBC News attributed “Chappaquiddick’s” strong $6.2 million opening to the movie’s release being rescheduled a less competitive date:

“John Curran's "Chappaquiddick," about the 1969 Ted Kennedy scandal, opened with $6.2 million in 1,560 theaters. The film, starring Jason Clarke as Kennedy, was acquired by Byron Allen's Entertainment Studios at last fall's Toronto International Film Festival. It had originally been planned for an awards season release, but the move to spring seemed to give ‘Chappaquiddick’ a better chance to stand out.”


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