It was a busy and varied Valentine’s Day weekend for moviegoers. Several films, ranging from action-blockbusters to independent biopics, as well as a couple of romantic films, were released in theaters this Friday.
This weekend saw the release of “Jayhawkers,” an independent film by Lawrence filmmaker Kevin Willmott. What started as an idea for an HBO series chronicling the life of Wilt Camberlain, became a biography of the University of Kansas’ as a whole, and the darker, more uncomfortably segregated side of Lawrence history.
The reaction to Willmott’s film has been overwhelmingly positive so far. The Friday night premiere was entirely sold-out, as was the screening that followed. The film had the audience mesmerized, seemingly behaving as one, with members applauding, cheering and laughing throughout the entire film. The mood was one of shared happiness. The film was also great.
On the front of wide distribution are two stories of much-less success, the first being of the romance/suspense film “Winter’s Tale.” The movie premiered this Friday and audience and critic response has been almost universally negative. The film, made on a budget of $150 million, grossed a paltry $7.7 million in its first three days, making it the first major box-office failure of 2014.
“Winter’s Tale” was not the only failure at the box-office this weekend. “Endless Love,” a romance/drama film, also failed to resonate with audiences. The films performance has been very poor, and its critical reception is equally subpar. Even Scott Spencer, the author of the book the film is based on, has called the film awful.