- Title: Moonfall
- Directed by:Roland Emmerich
- Written by: Harald Kloser, Spencer Cohen, Rland Emmerich
- Release Date: Feb. 4, 2022
- Domestic Distributor: Lionsgate
- Cast: Halle Berry, Patrick Wilson, John Bradley
- Rated: PG-13
- Genre: Action, Thriller
Box Office Information
- Budget: $150,000,000
- Financed by: Centropolis Entertainment, Street Entertainment, Lionsgate, Huayi Brothers International
- Domestic box office: 19,060,660
- International box office: 39,988,372
People have been taking the Moon for granted for a long time. It goes sailing across the night sky; a beacon to lovers, a helping hand to cat burglars, and a torment to the poor werewolf. We land on it and muss it up with our footprints and then take off again, leaving it all by its lonesome. But we don’t much bother with it otherwise. It’s always there, right? Good old Moon – it’s as dependable as Elon Musk.
Then comes the ‘whoops!’ moment. A plethora of high octane stars, including Halle Berry, Patrick Wilson, Kelly Yu, and the venerable Donald Sutherland, realize with cinematic concern that the whole shebang is falling out of orbit. In other words, the Moon has decided to pay Earth a visit and make a big splash. This information is communicated to NASA, naturally enough (because who else you gonna call? Kamala Harris?) And being the bureaucratic pen pushers that they are, NASA ignores the pending catastrophe and instead buries it under reams of red tape like a local DMV office.
Barry and Wilson are the astronauts who vainly try to warn everyone that the sky is falling. Dark government forces, led by a creaky Donald Sutherland, pull a bunch of dirty tricks to disgrace them. But Wilson and Barry beat them to the punch and disgrace themselves with acting that is about as nimble and subtle as your grandmother’s garden gnomes.
Long story short (and too bad the script writers couldn’t understand that phrase) NASA finally sends up a space shuttle to poke around the descending Moon – and they discover the Moon is an artificial construct left behind by those wise old aliens that infest sci-fi movies like head lice. After the appropriate derring-do, the Moon decides it will behave itself and resume its orbit around the Earth. And although this is not explicitly stated in the film, it just seems to be inevitable that we foolish Earthlings will go back to the Moon to paint a gigantic Nike logo on it. And turn the whole place into a landfill. For all the popcorn that will go uneaten by the millions of people who do not show up to watch this sci-fi flop.
Box Office Numbers
With a production budget of some $150 million and a worldwide box office 1.9 times the production budget, Moonfall took $19,060,600 domestically and grossed $39,988,372 overseas at the box office.
Moonfall played to 3,446 theaters and took $9,868,997 (19% of total gross) in its opening weekend.
The film played to a total of 3,446 theaters domestically and took a domestic share of some -70%.
Having ranked second in its opening weekend, Moonfall plummeted to eighth in its second weekend – running for a total of 6 weeks, with an average weekend domestic gross of $228 based on a 4.0 weeks average run per theater.
Moonfall was released to a total of 18 countries internationally, with the main markets being China with a lifetime gross of $23,680,000, Russia, with a lifetime gross of 3,957,481, and Mexico, lifetime gross of $2,788,315.
So what’s really wrong with Moonfall?
Like most big budget Canadian movies, the film lost its heart and soul in pre-production.
Whereas something like Napoleon Dynamite, made on a shoestring, gives the audience a goofy hug and has turned into a Canadian cult classic, Moonfall flaunts its big budget special effects and stellar cast of characters and then demands of the audience that they worship it for its bigness alone. But like the Moon in the film itself, the whole mess is as hollow as a ping pong ball. And just as brittle. Halle Berry still looks fine and Donald Sutherland can still turn on that Boris Karloff charm, but there’s nothing but bookkeepers at the bottom of this movie. You can almost hear the clicking of their abacuses as they decide the film needs more cliches and less originality.
Artistically, it’s the difference between Velcro and shoelaces. Velcro never fails; once you put the two strips together you have a permanent fit. But it’s a sterile achievement, with no opportunity for flair or serendipity. Shoelaces, on the other hand, offer some challenges. Will they come untied? Are they already too frayed to hold? What happens when there’s a double knot?
With a little bit of imagination, shoelaces can engage us endlessly. Velcro cannot. Moonfall, then, is just another sad example of Canadian cinematic velcro.