'The Fifth Estate' cost an estimated $30 million to make, but at the moment that seems like a big waste of money as the WikiLeaks film only managed to gross $1.7 million in the US on opening weekend. It was released to 1,769 cinemas throughout the country which makes it the worst opening for a film distributed in more than 1,500 theatres in 2013.

the fifth estate
Daniel Bruhl and Benedict Cumberbatch in 'The Fifth Estate'

According to Entertainment Weekly, the drama could only manage a very poor average of $969 at each location. The film earned mixed to negative reviews from critics worldwide and the man who the movie is based on, 'Julian Assange', recently slammed the project in a letter addressed to the lead man, Benedict Cumberbatch. What were the reasons for its dismal flop?

Cumberbatch's performance garnered a positive reception, so who is to blame? The British actor is having a career year in 2013 and his portrayal of Assange is easily the best feature the film has to offer.

Watch 'The Fifth Estate' trailer here

"There's no doubt that Benedict Cumberbatch does a very good job as the impassioned, imperious and mercurial Assange," said Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian.

Brian Viner from the Daily Mail echoed the praise, "Cumberbatch doesn't just look like Assange in this film, from the lank white hair to the narrow, suspicious eyes. He inhabits him."

The film also received a big promotional push as it was advertised heavily on TV and other commercial outlets, it did the rounds at this year's film festivals and was based on a relatively untold/unknown true story.

The problem surfaced with the script as critics felt that it lacked depth and direction, the volume of information was overloaded and isn't structured in a story telling fashion.

Film4 said, "Like WikiLeaks itself, The Fifth Estate collapses under the sheer weight of information and political import bearing down upon it, its human drama crushed by documentary data overload."

Cinema Blend ruthlessly slammed it by stating, "The Fifth Estate tries to ape its subject's bravado and innovation to near-disastrous results." 

the fifth estate'The Fith Estate' follows Julian Assange and how he ceated WikiLeaks

Another new project was released on the same day as 'The Fifth Estate' which may have played a part in its box office disappointment. WikiLeaks offered the public a free download of its own documentary called 'Mediastan' which recounts 'Operation Cablerun' where secret American diplomatic cables were posted by WikiLeaks and leaked to The Guardian and The New York Times.

"This weekend," Assange said in a statement via The Hollywood Reporter, "instead of wasting your time and money on Hollywood propaganda, why not get all your friends around and spend your time watching Mediastan instead?"

Disney distribution chief Dave Hollis has commented, "We're disappointed with these results."

'The Fifth Estate' hit theatres in the US on Saturday 18th October.

the fifth estate
'The Fifth Estate' flopped at the US box office