Tom Hanks has made it pretty clear that he’s a firm believer that movies should be released onto the big screen and the big screen only, but even America’s Dad has to move with the times and embrace both the shift in the industry’s business model and the effect that the Coronavirus pandemic has had on theaters.
The two-time Academy Award winner saw his last film Greyhound sold off to Apple TV+, and the 64 year-old wasn’t happy about a passion project that he’d written the script for and produced through his Playtone banner skipping cinemas, but he understood the reasons why. Hanks’ latest effort, meanwhile, may have got a release in theaters, but Western News of the World is already available on VOD having only debuted on Christmas Day, where it resolutely failed to gain any sort of traction at the box office.
The international distribution rights to the literary adaptation had been acquired by Netflix, and News of the World could barely scrape past $7 million domestically. That’s a shockingly low number for anything headlined by a star of Hanks’ magnitude, which just goes to show how far away things still are from returning to normal.
In any other year, News of the World would have played well with a lot of audiences, but instead it might end up being overlooked and forgotten entirely. This is despite Tom Hanks delivering another highly accomplished performance that could yet see him gain some awards season buzz, while Bourne director Paul Greengrass wisely opts against using his signature shaky cam style, with the end result the sort of sweeping, old fashioned Western that the major studios don’t really seem to be interested in making anymore.