If predictions from Film Twitter are to be believed, Beau Is Afraid might be the next movie to get F’d by CinemaScore, the company that polls moviegoer reactions on opening night and gives ratings from A+ to F. But based on the way CinemaScore operates, it actually might not be that simple for Ari Aster’s latest film, which sends Joaquin Phoenix on a trippy trip to his mom’s house, to join titles like Mother! and The Turning in the exclusive club of Fs.
Beau Is Afraid will open on April 21 in fewer than 1,500 locations, which means it doesn’t meet the threshold for public polling. Still, CinemaScore can be hired to conduct a private survey using the same methodology. However, while these letter ratings are still official, they also belong to the studio or producers who asked for them. In other words, if a team isn’t happy with the grade they get from a private poll, they don’t have to ever release the results. So is it possible that Beau Is Afraid might receive the lowest possible CinemaScore rating after its opening night tomorrow? Technically, yes. But for the internet to hear about it, the movie’s studio or producers would first need to request a private survey, receive an F score, and then still decide to make that flunking grade public. We’re afraid only Beau Is Afraid’s PR people know if they’d be into that sort of reverse-psychology marketing.