Will Ferrell
"A Deadly Adoption" star Will Ferrell in a still from the Lifetime movie. Unfortunately for the comedic actor, the film didn't attract many viewers. Lifetime

It looks like Lifetime’s latest movie venture came and went not with a bang, but with a whimper. The Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig-led “A Deadly Adoption” debuted to modest ratings on Saturday night to an audience that didn’t quite know how to digest it.

News leaked in April that comedic actors Ferrell and Wiig were going to star in a totally serious Lifetime-style original movie. While the stars tried to claim it was canceled after the news broke, Lifetime set a June release date for the film anyway and it premiered to lackluster ratings over the weekend.

According to Deadline, “A Deadly Adoption” brought in only 2.1 million viewers. The number might seem like a lot, but it is staggeringly low when compared with Lifetime’s most successful premiere, 2012’s “Steel Magnolias.” That film reached a total of 6.5 million viewers and scored the ratings of “A Deadly Adoption” in the coveted 25-54 demographic alone. Even Lifetime’s Whitney Houston biopic from January more than doubled the viewership of “A Deadly Adoption,” at 4.5 million viewers.

Although many were hoping the comedy duo’s project would fair better, it’s not surprising that it didn't. No one quite knew what to make of the comedy couple playing it about as straight as possible with outrageous, melodramatic material. As the New York Times noted in its review, it’s possible Lifetime didn’t quite know what to do with “A Deadly Adoption” either, which would explain why it was marooned on the TV programming wasteland that is Saturday night.

As Variety points out, the movie hurt itself by not attempting to use the comedy stars to skewer the genre that Lifetime has cultivated over the years. Instead, it favored a completely serious story, allegedly based on actual events, in which a couple agrees to care for a deeply troubled young pregnant woman in the hopes of adopting her child.

What did you think of “A Deadly Adoption”? Comment below or tweet your thoughts to @TylerMcCarthy.