How Johnny Depp's Only Movie With Amber Heard Became A Forgotten $45 Million Critical Disaster
2023/09/09

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Johnny Depp and Amber Heard have been in the news for all the wrong reasons in recent years, so some people may forget that they were actually in one movie together, , and it was a box office disaster. Depp and Heard have been better known for their acrimonious split and subsequent lawsuit than for their body of work in recent years. The tabloid headlines have understandably caused audiences to forget that both are talented actors, but their talent wasn't enough to save

Quite a few current and former celebrity couples met on the set of a movie, and it was no different for Depp and Heard. They met in 2009 while filming the movie, and their chemistry was evident. Even so,

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didn't at all connect with audiences and their movie ended up being a $45 million flop at the box office.

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Depp made as a passion project and a tribute to his late friend, and Hollywood passion projects are traditionally a mixed bag. Beyond that, adapting Hunter S. Thompson for the big screen is always a challenge, even by a good friend like Johnny Depp. His gonzo journalism style of writing made for entertaining reading, but translating it into the medium of movies is always a tricky thing. While another Depp-led Thompson adaptation,

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, became a cult classic, did not.

Despite Depp's personal investment and involvement in the project, it failed to impress in theaters and failed to attract an audience. It was too weird, too meandering, and it lacked the distinctive style and tone of Thompson that elevated his work. Even if it had had Thompson's distinctive voice, however, it wouldn't have landed with audiences. At the time of the film's release and subsequent bomb at the box office, FilmDistrict president Bob Berney reflected, “”

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At the time of 's 2011 release, critics felt the same way as audiences; were mixed at best. While critics at the time praised Depp's clear love for the project, it wasn't enough to overcome the rambling and loosely-told source material. Depp's acting was praised by some critics, and Heard got a fair bit of recognition, too–albeit mostly for being attractive and sensuous. However, their skill and chemistry weren't enough to overcome the fact that the movie had no real momentum in critics' eyes, or the lackluster pacing and oddly dark cinematography. Currently, The Rum Diary holds a 51% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While that's not the worst a controversial movie has ever fared, it's still not a strong rating. It certainly wasn't enough to help find success at the box office.

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