‘London Fields’ Director Says He Agrees With His Movie’s 0 Score on Rotten Tomatoes
Box Office Mojo’s records for opening weekends go back to 1982. And in those 36 years, only two films have grossed less than $200,000 in their first weekend of wide release. One is called Proud American, a forgotten film from 2008. The other is London Fields, released just last week to whatever the opposite of hype and great fanfare is. In a little over 600 theaters around the country, London Fields, based on the novel by Martin Amis, grossed just $168,575. (By way of comparison, the new Suspiria made about $20,000 more than that last weekend — in just two theaters.)
London Fields had many problems, but its 0 score on Rotten Tomatoes definitely didn’t help. Surprisingly, though, the director of London Fields, Mathew Cullen, says he not only read those negative reviews (Sample: “A boring and garish mess that even fans of the book will find nearly impossible to follow.”) he “agrees with them.”
A fascinating story in The Hollywood Reporter details some of the reasons why, but the CrushNotes version: Essentially Cullen was locked for years in a battle with producers over control of this film. In the end, the producers’ cut is the one that most people are theoretically seeing (technically no one is seeing it) — although Cullen was allowed to screen his preferred cut of London Fields in a few theaters. So yes, there are actually two versions of London Fields playing in theaters right now — and combined both of them made less than Suspiria in the tiniest of limited releases.
Cullen could have taken his name off the film but then, he told THR, “I wouldn't ever be allowed to talk about the film again and I wouldn't have had the ability to release my version of the film." So he kept his name on the film, released his version — and got absolutely savage reviews, which he says he doesn’t take issue with. And this sad story may possibly have an even more unhappy ending: Cullen says after all that he’s “considering retiring from feature films.” Yikes.
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