This might sound like a funny question, but did The Cobbler—a movie The A.V. Club reviewed this week, starring the profitable Adam Sandler and directed and co-written by the generally well-liked Thomas McCarthy—actually come out in theaters?
Ray Subers of Box Office Mojo, this report’s usual source for weekend figures, doesn’t seem to think so; the movie doesn’t even have an entry on his site. Some have reported that the widely panned comic fantasy’s distributor cancelled the theatrical release at the last minute, opting to go straight to VOD, while others are claiming that it opened in between 17 and 20 theaters and made about $24,000, forcing this writer to fact-check this story the only way a modern journalist knows how: by searching Twitter.
The biggest challenge with this approach is that nearly every tweet about The Cobbler either comes from film critics, who had to see The Cobbler out of professional obligation, or from the co-writer of The Cobbler, who apparently spent all week glued to the Twitter search bar. With enough sifting, though, it was possible to find as many as half a dozen regular, ordinary people who had seen the film.
No one listen to @vulture on movie selection. I just saw The Cobbler by Adam Sandler and loved it! A 10/10 for us millennials!!
— JimShip (@JimShip1) March 15, 2015
Of course, it’s entirely possible that some or all of these five or six non-critic viewers had seen The Cobbler at home, since the movie was simultaneously (or exclusively, depending on who you ask) released to VOD. As of press time, this publication could only find evidence of a multiplex in Houston playing the film.
With the exception of this bona fide box office mystery, the weekend went as predicted. Cinderella—the live-action film based on the animated film based on the fairy tale based on a potent mix of wish fulfillment and childhood-chore-based revenge fantasy—made a tremendous amount of money; Run All Night made significantly less money; and the rest of the Top 25 was made of movies that made a lot more money last week, with the exception of Wild Tales and What We Do In Shadows.
UGHHH THE COBBLER IS ONE OF THE BEST MOVIE OUT THERE
— bands (@Name07Full) March 15, 2015
The A.V. Club favorite It Follows also opened to a strong $163,000 in only four theaters this weekend; it’s expected to expand significantly, because it’s really good and scary as hell.