This weekend marks a real test for how strongly Johnny Depp’s army of supporters are willing to continue backing their hero, and this time they’ll need their wallets to do so. Online campaigns praising the three-time Academy Award nominee and denigrating his ex-wife Amber Heard are one thing, as are misguided attacks on the Animaniacs revival and Netflix, but Minamata hits cinemas today and is a whole different beast.
The biographical drama marks Depp’s first major theatrical release since he was dropped from the Fantastic Beasts franchise following the outcome of his most recent legal battle, where he’s virtually unrecognizable as photographer Eugene Smith. The story dramatizes Smith’s travels to Japan in the 1970s, where he investigated and subsequently documented the effects that mercury poisoning was having on many smaller coastal communities.
Minamata premiered almost a year ago at the Berlin International Film Festival, but remained in a holding pattern due to the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic. The pic has been doing pretty well on Rotten Tomatoes, where it currently holds a 61% score, and Depp’s central performance has been singled out for praise as one of his best in a long time.
Of course, a huge number of theaters throughout the country remain closed, with last weekend’s number one movie The Little Things topping the domestic box office with a haul of just $4.8 million. If Johnny Depp‘s loyalists can coordinate their online efforts into a real world movement, though, then there’s no reason why Minamata can’t wind up as the biggest film of the week, which would also make it the first one of his leading roles to nab the top spot since Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales was released five years ago.