In a scene from The Fifth Estate, a white-haired Benedict Cumberbatch as the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange boasts that “courage is contagious”. But the enthusiasm for the film certainly isn't, at least when it comes to the box office.
The Fifth Estate flopped in its opening weekend, drawing barely $1.7 million from 1,769 US cinemas, posting a disastrous per-theatre average of $969 in the worst wide-release opening of the year. Where are the Sherlock fans when you need them?
The film, co-produced by DreamWorks Pictures and Participant Media, with an estimated budget of $26 million, received mixed reviews and was panned by Mr Assange himself, who claimed it distorted the truth and warned that it would bury "good people doing good work" in an open letter to Cumberbatch.
Mr Assange also criticised DreamWorks, which partially based the film on Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange and the World's Most Dangerous Website, written by former WikiLeaks spokesman Daniel Domscheit-Berg, calling it a personal vendetta and an attempt to discredit the organisation, according to Mr Assange.
Given its poor box office performance, it seems that Mr Assange wasn't the only one who didn't think much of the film. As for Mr Cumberbatch, it isn't all bad news. His other film, 12 Years a Slave, made a successful debut drawing $960,000 from a limited release in just 19 theaters and is already generating Oscar buzz.