Clint Eastwood’s new film about the 1996 Olympics bombing has marked his worst box office opening as a director amid controversy about the portrayal of a female reporter.
“Richard Jewell,” which depicts a security guard falsely accused of being involved in a bomb plot, pulled in a dismal $5 million from 2,502 theaters over the weekend.
The results could be the worst nationwide opening for the 89-year-old director since 1980’s “Billy Bronco,” which garnered $3.7 million.
In comparison, Eastwood’s 2014 “American Sniper” earned $89 million in its opening weekend while his 2016 film “Sully” raked in $35 million.
The tepid opening comes after an Atlanta newspaper demanded the studio issue a statement saying they used dramatic license when portraying a reporter sleeping with a source to break a story.
The newspaper, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, told Variety that the allegation that former reporter Kathy Scruggs bedded an FBI agent to learn that a security guard was under investigation for the Centennial Olympic Park bombing is baseless.
“We hereby demand that you immediately issue a statement publicly acknowledging that some events were imagined for dramatic purposes and artistic license and dramatisation were used in the film’s portrayal of events and characters,” the newspaper wrote to Warner Bros, Eastwood, and writer Billy Ray.
“We further demand that you add a prominent disclaimer to the film to that effect,” they added.
Scruggs, who is portrayed by Olivia Wilde in the film, broke the story that the FBI was investigating Jewell in connection with the blast