Steve Jobs Movie Tanks, Pulled from Theaters

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The highly anticipated Steve Jobs movie penned by Aaron Sorkin and directed by Danny Boyle has done so poorly that it's been pulled from nearly all theaters. Last week it was in about 2,500 theaters across the country, but as of now you'll have to go hunting to find one of the 421 locations where it's still playing.

Michael Fassbender as Steve JobsMichael Fassbender as Steve Jobs

Data from Box Office Mojo showed the weekend gross for Steve Jobs was US$823,000, and that so far it has brought in only $16,684,073—a far cry from its $30 million budget.

Mr. Sorkin's script was very loosely—more like inspired—by Walter Isaacson's official biography of Mr. Jobs. That, it turns out, may be what kept many people away. The biggest complaint about the movie is that it isn't always factually accurate.

The movie's premise plays into that complaint well because it follows Mr. Jobs through his interactions with the people in his personal and business life in the minutes leading up to three major product announcements: the original Macintosh, the NeXT Cube, and the iMac. None of those pre-launch dramas took place, and many scenes were crafted so Mr. Sorkin could tell his story regardless of what was really happening.

That may have been enough to turn off many Apple fans. For some, the lack of factual accuracy was a serious issue, and seeing Mr. Jobs portrayed in what they see as a negative light was a big stumbling block, too.

Still, there may be another reason why movie goers opted to see The Martian instead: they just weren't interested in watching a film about Steve Jobs. Maybe it came too late, or it's a few years too early.

It's little more than a weak consolation that Steve Jobs has brought in only slightly more than Jobs, the biopic starring Ashton Kutcher and Josh Gad. The earlier Steve Jobs biopic earned only $16,131,410 in the United States.

The unfortunate part about Sorkin's movie is that it's a really good story loaded with the fiery dialog we've come to expect from his work. It does a great job of capturing the feel of being around Apple's co-founder during the company's earlier days and up through his return to the company. In other words, it covers the harsher and more acidic Steve Jobs, not the man he became before succumbing to pancreatic cancer.

A sequel movie showing Steve Jobs later in his life would be great, but that's not likely considering how poorly this one has performed.

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Somewhere on the Internet a group of Steve Jobs movie haters are firing up their schadenfreude engines right now.

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Apple fans were put off by the fiction.
Nobody else cared enough to see it.
But there’s another factor: The products covered in the film were released so long ago that much of the demographic that goes to a lot of films doesn’t even know what they’re talking about. A beige tower mac with a 9” screen? Something called a NEXT box? OK they might remember the original iMac but only if they saw one as the old computer gathering dust in the corner.

You mentioned that it would be nice if they did another film about iPod/iPhone/iPad released. I think that might have done a bit better if only because a larger portion of them viewing public would have some idea what they were talking about. Imagine those products and the back story was SJ finding he hand cancer and then hanging on long enough to get the iPad out. That’s the film Sorkin should have made. That’s tyhe film that would have done much better. But now it’ll never happen. Two films about SJ lost money. I doubt anyone ever will get the backing to make another.


Just proves my previous point that a real veteran Apple customer that followed Jobs from 1984 on wouldn’t care a whit about a movie about this unlikeable yet charismatic character that we’ve seen and heard from for decades in reality. Maybe someday an “Apple” story might make a good movie but I doubt it. In the mean time a coke head doing a hack of Walter’s book just doesn’t sound compelling to begin with. Nobody cares.


I’d like Steve’s 2nd act to be portrayed by Kutcher. Fassbender just wasn’t convincing as Steve. What F. lacks that Kutcher has some of was the drop dead handsome looks and charisma—that package of charm that Steve could turn on when needed that allowed him to get away with the flip side: his acidic personality. Fassbender is not able to pull that off, Kutcher had a chunk of that needed ingredient. Just the yelling and insults without the smirk, hot looks and charming aura just doesn’t make us want to buy into the movie as we bought into the real Steve and his dreams.



There is an alternative explanation for lacklustre box office sales, namely that for many of these special-effects-poor movies, the case for seeing them at the cinema is hard pressed.

The obvious target audience for this particular movie is also steeped in the Apple ecosystem of iTunes and entertainment everywhere on any device. Many of these individuals, present company included, will simply wait for the release on iTunes and then see it.

Indeed, given the so-called flop of several releases with strong casts and performances (by critic acclaim), movie houses might be well served by conducting their own market and consumer analysis and determining the cost/benefit of releasing certain movies in the cinema vs iTunes, as some are opting to do. The latter might have the advantage of avoiding the appearance of a ‘flop’ and the disincentive that might have on audience willingness to view.

Given the cost and relative inconvenience of going to the cinema, no less than time constraints (and for some people, the newly emerging threats to cinema attendees), I personally reserve attendance for those features where special effects are best appreciated on the wide screen. 

I suspect that this, and other offerings, will do just fine on digital release.

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