“Cloud Atlas” faced plenty of obstacles ahead of the disappointing $9.8 million opening weekend gross. The film, starring Tom Hanks and Halle Berry, spans generations and features six interconnected stories. Hanks and Berry both play multiple roles throughout "Cloud Atlas" and the movie was directed by the Wachowski siblings, directors of the Matrix trilogy, and Tom Tykwer, director of “Run Lola Run.” The film is an adaptation of the novel by David Mitchell.
According to Box Office Mojo, one reason why “Cloud Atlas” flopped was due to the marketing. Because of the expansive and complicated story, the studio could not develop a compelling advertising campaign to promote the film and sell it to audiences. The film also had a long runtime, topping out at 164 minutes, naturally deterring some moviegoers.
“Cloud Atlas” also face challenges when it came to critics as well. There was no consensus among critics, although “Cloud Atlas” received mostly positive reviews. According to Rotten Tomatoes, “Cloud Atlas” was 63 percent fresh among critics, including 108 positive reviews and 64 negative reviews.
“Cloud Atlas” features a complicated plot, multiple story lines that intersect, and is epic in scope and size. This could be a joy to behold for some, or a confused mess for others and as such, audiences were unsure if “Cloud Atlas” was worth the time, money or effort to watch.
The failure of “Cloud Atlas” and its reported $100 million budget, could mean other studios to be wary of other challenging big budget sci-fi movies that, while rewarding, may be a dud at the box office. For studios who want to make money, that might mean taking less risks or hedging their bets and producing challenging movies but with much smaller budgets.
That does not mean the box office had only bad news for cinephiles. “Argo” is a surprise hit and, while Ben Affleck had success as an actor, his directorial efforts have been garnering praise and box office success. In its third week of release, “Argo” is the number one movie in America, taking in $12.1 million. To date, “Argo” has grossed $60.5 million domestically with a reported budget of $44.5 million according to IMDB. “Hotel Transylvania” ($9.44 million), “Paranormal Activity 4” ($8.51 million) and “Silent Hill: Revelation: 3D” rounded out the top five.