tiff opening night

The worst opening night films in the history of TIFF

First impressions matter. That's why every year the opening night film at the Toronto International Film Festival is a big deal. The 2015 selection, French-Canadian Jean-Marc VallĂŠe's Demolition, promises to be a great beginning to the festival. But over the course of TIFF's 40-year history, it's had a few festivals that started with a big whimper, not a bang.

Here are my picks for the worst opening night films in the history of TIFF.

Creation
There was some excitement when Creation was announced as the 2009 opening film, particularly because it would star real-life husband and wife, Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly, as Mr. and Mrs. Charles Darwin. And yet does anyone even remember this film? No. There's good reason for that.

Fifth Estate
The Cult of Benedict Cumberbatch would have you believe the British actor can do no wrong. Fifth Estate would argue otherwise. I'm not even sure his most loyal fans have seen the panned 2013 opening night film in which Cumberbatch donned terrible hair to play Julian Assange, the man behind WikiLeaks.

The Judge
When Robert Downey Jr's The Judge was announced as the 2014 TIFF opening night film, Warner Brothers president proudly declared, "The film is truly deserving, and we believe the always-discerning audience in Toronto will appreciate it as much as we do." The always-discerning audience in Toronto did not seem to appreciate what turned out to be an incredibly ho-hum, giant clichĂŠ of a movie.

Score: A Hockey Musical
I love musicals, and it breaks my heart to kick Canadian cinema when it's down, but while Score seemed great on paper, it was less so in execution when we actually got to see it in 2010. "That it was selected to open the Toronto International Film Festival is embarrassing," Toronto critic Will Sloan wrote in his review.

We of the Never Never
The only time an Australian movie ever opened the festival, (with exception of Black Robe, which was a co-production with Canada), there's maybe a reason 1982 was the last time that happened. The New York Times at the time wrote, "If We of the Never Never sounds simple, old-fashioned and as suffocatingly noble as its heroine, it is."

What do you consider to be the worst TIFF opening night films of all time? Let us know in the comments.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @alxhuls for all the latest on TIFF 15, including snap reviews


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