So, how did local crime drama Mission Park fare at the theater opening weekend with moviegoers and critics? And what did its box office numbers look like?
Although Santikos Theaters said they could not share specific numbers with the Current, Daniel Rodríguez, Marketing Communications Manager for Santikos, said the film “over-performed
from what it was originally projected to do.”
Mission Park played in five of Santikos' nine locations. It also played in seven theaters in Los Angeles, two in Chicago and one in New York City. Box office results were not readily available Monday afternoon for specialty films at Deadline.com or Indiewire.com. BoxOffice.com and BoxOfficeMojo.com did not include Mission Park in their official list of studio estimates.
According to Santikos, Mission Park was the sixth highest-grossing film this past weekend in their theaters. The Mayan Theater on the city’s South side was the highest grossing location of all 15 theaters screening the film in the U.S.
Rodríguez said it is up to their Booking Department to decide if Santikos will screen Mission Park for another week, “but there is a strong case that it will.” He added that decisions on what films to give a second run to are not made until Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning.
And what about critics? What did they have to say about first-time director Bryan Ramírez’s film? Not much. Although the film opened in the three biggest media markets in the U.S. and in San Antonio (No. 32), there were only a handful of reviews, most of which were negative.
Los Angeles Times critic Gary Goldstein gave Mission Park 1.5 out of 5 stars and called it a “not terribly convincing action thriller as generic as its title.”
The New York Times critic Jeannette Catsoulis was a bit nicer and gave the film 2.5 out of 5 stars, but still referred to it as a “hokey first feature” that “begins with a lingering close-up of a smoking gun and proceeds downhill.”
Other reviews followed suit. Over at the Hollywood Reporter, critic Frank Scheck said Mission Park “lurches from one cliché-ridden scene to another” and “is unconvincing from start to finish.” Critic Chris Packham at the Village Voice started his review off with a weird reference to Michael Jackson, but then went on to say the film was made up of “hackneyed, basic-cable plotting and dialogue” with a “stupid premise.”
Critic Maitland McDonagh at Film Journal International wrote more of a synopsis of the film than she does an actual critique, but starts her piece off by saying, “Feel free to stop us if you've heard this story, oh, about a hundred times before.”
A quick Google search for “Mission Park movie review” also brought up a couple more critical reviews. At LatinoBuzz, a blog at Indiewire.com, critic Carlos Aguilar said Ramírez’s effort was “commendable” but “lacks originality” and is “irremediably predictable.” At Next Projection.com, critic Dustin Freely stamped the film with a “mediocre” review (53 out of 100), broke down some major plot holes and called the film “flimsy at best.”
In the local media, my Current review was published the day before it opened. I credited Ramírez for the film’s production value but said the script followed a “formulaic storyline” and “lacks the imagination needed to leave a lasting impression on the genre.” I gave the film a C grade (not recommended) at News4SA.com and at CineSnob.net.
One of the only positive reviews I could find anywhere was from local La Prensa critic Dennis Ayotte who saw something no one else did and gave Mission Park a whopping 4 out of 5 stars and called it a “must see.”
Another positive review came from critic Andrea Lastrange at The Movie Blog.com, who began her review by praising the “eye candy” of the film (the four lead actors) and said it has the “capacity to appeal to all audiences” and “carries a positive message.”
On his Facebook page, Ramírez said he only cares to read reviews from regular moviegoers (“For the people, by the people” he remarks) and offers a link to Twitter users who have commented on the film. Examples of these include one from moviegoer John Manier (@johnmanier) who said Mission Park “rocked” and moviegoer Mayra Lara (@mayralara3) who said if “you love action movies go watch #missionpark.”
Other positive reviews can be seen on the official Mission Park Facebook page from moviegoers who caught the film this weekend. Moviegoer Josh Sands, who is originally from San Antonio but now lives in L.A., called the film “amazing.” San Antonio moviegoer Simon Ramírez called the film “bad ass.” Moviegoer Lucy Clark said it was “freaking awesome” and “realistic.”