One of the comments in the article by the authors -- in fact, the editors even put it in the sub-headline -- is that the movie is "electrifying and crowd-pleasing." This is one of the more bizarre contradictory phrases you'll likely find in a movie analysis -- bemoaning the lack of audience support for a movie that's crowd-pleasing. I would suggest most crowd-pleasing movies get crowds.
(In fairness, some movies take a while to build word-of-mouth, if they actually are crowd-pleasing, so the authors here fall into Hollywood Conventional Thinking trap by jumping the gun bemoaning the movie flopping, rather than waiting a few weeks to see for sure. It may well flop, but c'mon, give it more than five days. Maybe people want to see it, but with so many other films opening over the holidays, they only chose one or perhaps two, and will get around to it next week. Or they want to hear from friends what they thought. Express surprise that it didn't open better, but don't write off "America" as not wanting to see it when America has only had five days.)
I will note something else in that regard. While the Rotten Tomatoes website shows that 91% of critics gave the film a positive review, only 60% of the audience liked it. So...maybe it's not as "crowd-pleasing" at the audience thought.
I'll add something else. I saw Widows at a Writers Guild screening a week ago, and stayed for the Q&A afterwards with the film's writers Gillian Flynn and Steve McQueen (who also directed it). And I thought it was wonderfully produced, nicely edited, well-acted and had good dialogue -- and was empty and fairly uninteresting. I was glad I saw it (though it was free), but left the Q&A early because they were expounding so enthusiastically about something I didn't think reached that level. I left thinking, "Yeah, okay, fun, but whatever.)
You'll note that I didn't write a "Capsule Review" of the film, which is because I felt ambivalent enough about it that I decided to use my writing time elsewhere. It's not a bad movie at all, but I personally didn't find it especially compelling and "electrifying," most-particularly enough to slam "America" for not supporting it more.
Side note: lest one think otherwise, I was actually predisposed to really like this film and was looking forward to it. I love heist movies, it's one of my favorite genres. (Just last week, in fact, you'll recall that I wrote about Topkapi, and it being one of the all-time great heist movies.) And further, my novel and screenplay, The Wild Roses, is about a group of women bonding together in an action-adventure. I not only was pulling for Widows to succeed...I still am.
The authors of the article talk about the film's "electrifying twists." (As did the fawning interviewer at the Q&A.) I found that there was one big twist, not plural. And I pretty much guessed that one an hour earlier. (In fairness, the audience reacted to it with a yelp, so they obviously didn't see it coming.) The rest of the "electrifying twists" weren't really "twists" in that they didn't change the plot, but were more surprises in the action. But then, it's an action-heist film, for goodness sake, and periodic surprises is almost the point of any film in the genre. To give its due, maybe one of these surprises could also be called a "big twist" -- but not even remotely "electrifying." After all, without giving anything away, the title of the movie is "Widows." So, audiences should have a fairly good idea what they're in for, and it's pretty difficult to feel electrified when the title tells you what is to follow.
As I said, I'm glad I saw the movie, and enjoyed much of it, particularly when I wasn't thinking too closely. But among the things that bothered me enough to find it empty is that -- I disliked pretty much everyone in it. While I felt sympathy for the women being widowed I didn't find them all as innocent as the movie wanted to portray them, especially the main character who has garnered a fabulously wealthy lifestyle thanks to her husbands career in thievery. To come up with the money demanded of them, their idea is to rob someone else. There were piles of lucky-coincidences dropping throughout the film -- the best of the taut, action-thriller heist movies are so carefully constructed that most-every piece falls meticulously into place. And then there's emptiness of the heist itself, which normally is the core of...a heist film.
"It’s a redefinition of what a heist film can be," the authors of the article rave. Well, yeah, I guess, if by that you mean taking a heist film and not get around to the planning of the heist for 75 minutes, making the planning be the most banal of chores ("You're in charge of getting a gun. You have to find someone who can drive. And you have to figure out who this person is" -- which she does by a very lucky break) -- and then having the big heist take all of about five minutes, tops. And the heist sequence is about as "electrifying" as some drugged-out kid breaking into a house to steal jewelry.
I could be a whole lot more clear and explicit about all of this -- as it stands, I know that my comments about the film's details are a bit amorphous -- but since the movie just opened and others here may likely see it, I don't want to give anything away.
Again, the movie is very-well produced, nicely acted and has sharp dialogue. But to me, it's a whole lot more thin that these two adoring author take America to task over. I know my opinion is just mine. I also know that according to that one "exit poll," only 60% of the movie actually liked it. Which I think is a fair number -- I liked it about 40-60%.
So, the problem with "America" not seeing the movie may not be that they didn't want to for all the reasons the authors ruminate, but more that a lot of people who saw it just didn't find it "electrifying" and it hasn't gotten great word of mouth.
Maybe it still will, they only gave it five days. And if people did love the movie, I myself wouldn't argue with them, I completely understand the film's strong points, and if those are to a person's taste, I get it. But to ask "America" what is wrong with you for not supporting in its first five days this very well-made, empty film, methinks they doth protest too much...