The new horror film Hereditary opened to strong box office numbers and wide critical acclaim this weekend. However, just because critics have praised the film doesn't mean fans are, well, fans of it. The movie's CinemaScore is out and it's not good.
CinemaScore, the company that measures audience reactions to films, has awarded Hereditary with a dismal D+ score. It's a score in line with Rotten Tomatoes' Audience Score for the film which is presently sitting at 62-percent.
Contrast that with Hereditary's critical response. The film received a certified fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes where its rating presently sits at 93-percent. The disparity between the critical and audience responses to the film appears to highlight just how large a difference there can be in how critics and casual audience perceive movies, but there could be box office ramifications for the low CinemaScore. The letter grade is often seen as something of a box-office bellwether as movies with low CinemaScores often see a drop in their receipts following the opening weekend.
However, the low CinemaScore and low audience score don't necessarily mean that the film isn't going over well with fans. Horror films tend to have a very specific audience and fanbase. It's possible that these lower responses are partially influenced by more general audiences who went to see the film as opposed to more specific horror film audience who, like critics, see movies within the genre a little different. After all, 2017's It Comes At Night was in a similar situation with excellent critical reviews (also certified fresh by Rotten Tomatoes) but a D from CinemaScore. The idea of Hereditary doing better with horror genre fans is something that some have already started pointing out, commenting on CinemaScore's tweet that the film is already appealing to genre fans because it is exactly that: a genre film, as you can see in the official description below:
"When Ellen, the matriarch of the Graham family, passes away, her daughter's family begins to unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about their ancestry. The more they discover, the more they find themselves trying to outrun the sinister fate they seem to have inherited. Making his feature debut, writer-director Ari Aster unleashes a nightmare vision of a domestic breakdown that exhibits the craft and precision of a nascent auteur, transforming a familial tragedy into something ominous and deeply disquieting, and pushing the horror movie into chilling new terrain with its shattering portrait of heritage gone to hell."
Hereditary, starring Toni Collette, Gabriel Byrne, Alex Wolff, Ann Dowd, and Milly Shapiro, is in theaters now.
What do you think about the disparity between the critical and audience scores for Hereditary? Let us know your thoughts on the matter in the comments.