Fox got some strong buzz going for its Cameron Crowe drama We Bought a Zoo starring Matt Damon thanks to roughly 800 sneak previews on Saturday. The studio reported sell outs in all types of markets throughout the heartland and the coasts with an average capacity of 70-75%. The PG-rated film skewed towards adult women with females making up 57% of the crowd and 65% being 25 and older. An incredibly high 95% of those polled rated the film as "excellent" or "very good" so positive feedback is already building.
Early reactions to the film, which had its first sneak screenings this weekend, have far exceeded most people's expectations, and the best feedback has gone to its star, who is one of Hollywood's most likable personalities on screen (as captured in this film) and off.
Hollywood Reporter review
The force that binds the disparate characters together and anchors the story in emotional truth is Damon’s Benjamin. His struggle gives the movie a soulful pull, even at its most predictable. Whether he’s pleading with an ailing Bengal tiger not to give up the will to live, lost in melancholy solitude or yelling in frustration at his son about a shared pain that neither of them can express, Damon brings integrity and intrinsic decency to a character just searching for the courage to emerge from grief.
But I've seen what naked manipulation looks like, and that's not "We Bought A Zoo." It's just a film that wears its emotions right out front, and somehow, Crowe is able to brush aside any thoughts of what people will or won't think and just focus on building those moments that he does so well, those heartbreaking little moments of magic that have been the main currency of his career. "We Bought A Zoo" is lovely, delicate, and absolutely worth seeing with your family this holiday season.
Maybe it was just the mood I was in that night, maybe it was the fact that had just flown in earlier in the day from a wonderful visit with my family for Thanksgiving, maybe it was just that outstanding of a film made with a genuine passion by everyone involved. Whatever it was, it got to me, and I found myself wiping away tears multiple times, laughing often, and walking out with one of the warmest, happiest feelings one could wish for leaving a movie theater.