- Rush, Ron Howard's film about the 1976 Formula 1 racing season, took in $10.3 million in weekend box-office receipts.
- Rush came in 3rd behind Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 at $35 million and Prisoners at $11.3 million.
- The critical reaction to Rush suggests that it will take its place among the greatest car-racing movies of all time.
HOLLYWOOD, California — Rush, Ron Howard's tribute to Formula 1 racing, took in $10.3 million in box-office receipts this past weekend, relegated to 3rd place by the kid-friendly Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 at $35 million and the suspense thriller Prisoners, which came in second at $11.3 million.
The results were posted at BoxOffice.com, which noted that Rush "debuted towards the lower end of its modest expectations, which were held in check in part by the lack of popularity of Formula 1 racing in the United States."
Not a big surprise, really.
Cloudy went into the weekend with the advantage of a broader audience and distribution to more theaters, 4,001 to Prisoners' 3,290 and Rush's 2,297. And early indicators, receipts from Friday and Saturday, clearly demonstrated that families with children were buying significantly more tickets than racing fans.
But, as always, income is not necessarily a reliable indicator of a film's quality. The critical reaction to Rush suggests that it will take its place among the greatest car-racing movies of all time, most notably American Graffiti and The Fast and the Furious.
The story of the epic battle between British playboy James Hunt and cerebral Austrian Niki Lauda for the 1976 Formula 1 championship has been widely praised as an outstanding character study. And the performances by Chris Hemsworth (Hunt) and Daniel Brühl (Lauda) seem to have charmed reviewers worldwide.
But it's the racing that really is the star of the film. Here Ron Howard has captured the sight, sound and — very nearly — the smell of Formula 1 racing as it's never been depicted on-screen before.
As veteran film critic Leonard Maltin said in his Leonard Maltin's Movie Crazy: "Director Ron Howard has brought this story to life with unbridled energy, transforming each race into an adrenaline-charged vignette that could serve as a master class in staging and (especially) editing action scenes."
In filming the action, Howard used vintage racecars when possible, supplemented with perfectly constructed replicas. And the racing scenes were filmed on location at famous European tracks, including the Nürburgring, where Lauda almost lost his life in a crash at the 1976 German Grand Prix.
So for car enthusiasts and racing fans, there's a lot of detail to take in while becoming engrossed in what is an intriguing story even for casual moviegoers.
As David Kaplan, of KaplanvsKaplan.com put it: "If you're not a fan of Formula 1 or any other form of auto tracing — as I am not — it doesn't matter. Howard's movie is tense, thrilling and funny, and extremely well acted."
Edmunds says: We liked it, too.