The Beach Bum Bombs, Giving McConaughey His Worst Box Office Debut Ever

Things are anything but alright, alright, alright for Matthew McConaughey right now. His latest movie, The Beach Bum, opened this weekend, but nobody would blame you if you had no idea that was the case. Despite having an absolutely stacked cast and a director who’s next movie people had been waiting for, this stoner comedy arrived with a massive, ugly thud and wound up giving McConaughey the worst opening of his long, storied career at the box office.

The Beach Bum was given a wide release by Neon this past weekend following its debut at SXSW last month. Originally, the plan was to do some sort of platform release, which would have allowed for a slower rollout and could have allowed the movie to gain some traction via word of mouth. Instead, the studio opted to drop it on more than 1,000 screens all at once with very little marketing ahead of time and that decision did not pay off, to say the very least.

Matthew McConaughey’s latest, in which, he plays a legendary stoner poet by the name of Moondog, earned just $1.8 million after opening on 1,100 screens. That makes for an abysmal per screen average of roughly $1,600. Heading into the weekend, it looked like the movie would open on around 750 screens, but that number was beefed up unnecessarily. The only real consolation is that The Beach Bum did manage to make its way into the top ten for the weekend. Though, only by the skin of its teeth. Either way, this is a tragic start. So, the question must be asked, what went so horribly wrong?


There was some positivity coming out of the screening at SXSW. I personally was on hand and wound up enjoying it much more than I thought I would. It also feels like the perfect role for Matthew McConaughey, and even many of the negative reviews of the movie aren’t going after his performance specifically. There were also quite a few who were eager to see what director Harmony Korine was going to follow up Spring Breakers with. Unfortunately, his modern stoner comedy, which features a cast that includes, Snoop Dogg, Isla Fisher, Martin Lawrence and even Jimmy Buffett, didn’t manage to attract the same level of attention.

Word of mouth certainly isn’t going to bail this one out either. As it stands, The Beach Bum holds a 51 percent critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes, to go along with a really rough 34 percent audience score. This is the second major flop of 2019 for Matthew McConaughey, who also starred in Serenity alongside Anne Hathaway. That was also panned by critics and topped out at just $11.4 million worldwide at the box office. Is the McConaissance officially over? Are we descending from the peak of McConaughey’s career? One can only hope not. This news was previously reported by Variety.

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