Initial Reaction: Video Review - THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN

While we've had a few awards bait titles released so far the Oscar season seemed to officially kick-off this weekend with the wide release of Nate Parker's controversial The Birth of a Nation which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January to rapturous applause and the biggest acquisition deal in the festival's history with Fox Searchlight winning the bidding war at $17.5 million. In the months following this record-breaking deal reports began to surface concerning the now seventeen year-old case in which director, writer, producer, and star Nate Parker was accused and acquitted of sexual assault and that four years ago the woman who accused him committed suicide. These charges obviously put a damper on how the multi-talented Parker's film would be received, but I don't think Fox Searchlight was counting on The Birth of a Nation's opening weekend opening as low as it did. The film, centered around Nat Turner, a literate slave and preacher in the antebellum South, who orchestrates an uprising brought in an estimated $7.1 million from 2,105 theaters. The film will be lucky to hit $25 million domestic it seems and will ultimately fade from the cultural conversation long before the real Oscar talk begins. I understand the seriousness of the allegations against Parker and how they negatively impact his image, but separate from all of that the film is quite good and it's a pity the art can't be separated from the artist in this case. The big story of the weekend though, was The Girl on the Train. The much anticipated adaptation of Paula Hawkins' bestselling novel ended up a bit shy of expectations with an estimated $24.7 million from 3,144 theaters, but that was enough to land it atop the weekend box office. The Girl on the Train also opened internationally in 34 territories this weekend adding an estimated $16.5 million to its total giving the film a worldwide tally of $41 million on a production budget of $45 million so Universal won't be shedding any tears, but this certainly won't be a water cooler conversation starter the same way Gone Girl. That's it for now, but as always be sure to follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and subscribe to our YouTube channel as we have a new review (or reviews) up each week!

Read my full The Girl on the Train review here.

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