At the U.S. box office, Star Wars: The Last Jedi was far and away the biggest film of 2017, followed by Beauty and the Beast and Wonder Woman.
At home, though, it was a whole different story.
The film made just $86 million domestically during its theatrical run. That’s not awful, considering The Accountant has a reported production budget of $44 million, but it’s nothing to write home about, either. It didn’t even crack the top 30 releases of that year.
Nor was it particularly well-loved by critics. The Accountant‘s Rotten Tomatoes score stands at a fine-but-not-fantastic 52%.
That stands in sharp contrast to the second and third most-streamed movies of last year, Moana and Wonder Woman. Both of those were bonafide blockbuster hits. It’s no surprise they were as popular at home as they were in theaters.
But The Accountant? Why?
Well, we don’t really know. But we’ve got a few theories.
For starters, it may have benefitted from good timing. The Accountant‘s digital release date fell at the very end of 2016, which means it had all of 2017 to keep making money. Compare that to a film released in, say, October of that same year, which would have had to split its earnings between 2016 and 2017.
Moreover, The Accountant does not appear to have been available on subscription sites like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video. Most people who wanted to see it would have had to pay to rent it. (It was streaming on HBO, but that accounts for a smaller slice of the pie.)
Then there’s the film itself. Critics may have been unmoved by The Accountant, but general audiences apparently liked it just fine. It has an A Cinemascore and earned decent audience ratings from IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes. (Grain of salt and all, but still.)
Plus, honestly, The Accountant just seems like something you’d watch at home. It’s not an Avengers-style event movie, that has people flocking to theaters opening weekend – but it looks just sturdy and familiar enough that you might be inspired to give it a shot if you see the cover on iTunes.
Does any of this definitively explain why The Accountant was America’s digital movie rental of choice in 2017? Well, no. But the only other explanation we could come up with is “2017 was wild.” Which, come to think of it, makes as much sense as anything else.
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