One of the big surprises this week was the somewhat harsh reception critics have given Tate Taylor's The Girl On The Train. The film looked like it had all the trappings of a great, grown-up thriller. For months now, the hype has been palpable. With a solid cast that's led by the always dependable Emily Blunt (Sicario), direction by Tate Taylor (Best Picture nominee The Help and critical darling Get On Up), and based on a popular book, The Girl On The Train looked like it was set to be this year's Gone Girl. Heck, it even more or less copied Gone Girl's release date. That 2014 flick, which opened on October 3, was a certifiable hit for director David Fincher and opened to a stellar $37.5 million.
Girl On The Train, on the other hand, looks like it's going to rattle its way out of the station.
With a Rotten Tomatoes rating of only 45% and a consensus that reads, "Emily Blunt's outstanding performance isn't enough to keep The Girl on the Train from sliding sluggishly into exploitative melodrama," it sounds like The Girl On The Train is going to disappoint. While certain films can succeed with so-so/negative reviews just based on the popularity of the property, a film that's aimed so squarely at adults might have a hard time overcoming that kind of negative response.
With that said, The Girl On The Train had a decent night in terms of Thursday previews. Blunt's latest pulled in $1.2 million, and Variety is projecting that the film will take the #1 spot at the weekend box office with a projected haul of about $26 Million. Further complicating things is the fact that several southern states are likely going to be hit hard by Hurricane Matthew this weekend- which means that Floria, Georgia, and the Carolinas are likely going to be sitting this one out.
Universal can take heart in the fact that the initial hype will still end up being strong enough to allow The Girl On The Train to take the weekend, and that the film only cost $45 Million to make, so even if the film does come off the rails in the weeks to come it'll still probably make its money back. Just don't expect to hear about this film during the awards season, unlike Gone Girl which was nominated for Best Picture.
Do you have any plans to catch The Girl On The Train? I still may. As I've said, RT ratings between 40% and 60% tell me it's a take-it-or-leave-it proposition. Nearly half the critics liked it, nearly half didn't. So it's a toss-up, and since I'm a fan of Emily Blunt I'll likely take the wife to see this one in the weeks to come.