On the opening day of Kevin Spacey’s new film Billionaire Boys Club, the crime-drama could only manage a paltry $126 (less than £100) suggesting the alleged transgressions of The Usual Suspects actor have negatively impacted the popular appeal of movies he’s associated with.
Billionaire Boys Club, now notable for being the last Kevin Spacey film made before accusations of sexual assault, has tanked at the US box office. Its opening day saw a return of $126 with The Hollywood Reporter claiming it had average earnings of under $12.75 at each cinema it was screened at – the equivalent of less than two people per screening.
Filmed three years ago, Billionaire Boys Club suffered prior to release because of allegations made against The Usual Suspects star which saw inevitable changes to its marketing strategy push the initial premiere back. Its North American poster is notable for not revealing Spacey’s image or name, showcasing the talents of other principle cast members including Ansel Elgort, Taron Egerton and Emma Roberts.
Last year, Spacey wasn’t just removed from the poster of Ridley Scott’s new film All The Money In The World, he was replaced entirely, his scenes re-shot with Christopher Plummer. He was also fired from Netflix’s House of Cards, the series continuing without him.
Billionaire Boys Club’s US distributor predicted backlash towards the film, issuing a statement in advance of its theatrical release. “We hope these distressing allegations pertaining to one person’s behaviour – that were not publicly known when the film was made almost 2.5 years ago – do not tarnish the release,” adding that it does not “condone sexual harassment on any level” and supports “victims of it.”
But as critics were quick to point out, the film isn’t a box office failure because of Spacey. As John Wirt of the Advocate says: “Billionaire Boys Club would fail even if Kevin Spacey’s career hadn’t crashed.” John DeFore explains in The Hollywood Reporter: “It’s a derivative bore, all popped collars, douchey bros and hand-me-down psychology, that gets its characters up to their necks in borrowed money just long enough to have it really hurt when the accounts run dry.”
Yet, IndieWire, in its review, took the opportunity to draw parallels; art imitating life. It’s “a half-baked morality tale about people who think they can get away with the impossible. Considering Spacey’s situation, it’s an appropriate finale to this possibly final stage of his career.”
It’s certainly another hammer blow to the career of Spacey who, since November last year, has been indicated by as many as 30 men as the perpetrator of a number of unwanted sexual advances. The allegations span 30 years with UK police investigating claims by six men. Spacey has denied the allegations made against him.