The movie cost $30 million to make and in its opening weekend it earned a total of $31.1 million, making it what poker players would regard as a marginal winner. The biggest disappointment is the fact that at the US box office Runner Runner made just $7.6 million, $3.4 million shy of the early estimates. Luckily for Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck who star in this movie, as well as Leonardo DiCaprio who produced it, the overseas earnings were three times larger and saved the day.
Among the reasons cited by experts for the subpar earnings is the fact that movie was released on the same weekend as the highly anticipated “Gravity”. The movie leads the US box office by a landslide with earnings of $55 million and has plenty of room to grow after it received high grades from viewers and specialists alike. By contrast, Runner Runner’s reception was less impressive and the IMDB rating is a disappointing 5.4.
Not surprising, among those who decided to give this movie a chance are plenty of poker players, both amateurs and professionals. Greg Merson was one of them and the poker pro was clearly unimpressed by the film, but told his fans on twitter that Runner Runner is not as bad as some reviews suggest:
Runner Runner was meh but was better than expected after reading reviews.
— Greg Merson (@GregMerson) October 5, 2013
Phil Ivey is looking forward to watching this production as well and it will be interesting to hear what he thinks about Runner Runner.
— Phil Ivey (@philivey) October 3, 2013
The storyline is intriguing, with Justin Timberlake impersonating a poor student called Richie who tries to make a living by playing online poker, only to be cheated by an offshore entrepreneur, shady Ivan Block. He travels to Costa Rica to get to the bottom of the alleged deceit only to find himself mixed up in the high-stakes game of an international scandal. Richie desperately tries to find a way out, but finds himself dragged even further when the FBI attempts to coerce him into setting a trap for Block.
Not surprising, those poker players who watched the movie focused mostly on the manner in which Runner Runner depicts the beautiful game and Matt Salsberg nailed it, with his tweet:
Amazingly ironic that Runner Runner is approximately 8% on Rotten Tomatoes.
— matt salsberg (@msalsberg) October 5, 2013
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