For a change, Ridley Scott is not happy. This time, due to the poor box office performance of his latest film, The Last Duel.
Ridley Scott, he is perhaps one of the most regarded filmmakers of the contemporary era, but he is also a good fat grumpy grandpa when it comes to talking about cinema, and more particularly about his industry. By this paradox, we obviously had the right to the sulphurous controversies of his prelogy Prometheus, and more recently the barely free tackle of the future series Alien on Disney +, or the eternal dezincing of Marvel / DC superheroes.
But since you don’t change a director who divides, The Last Duel, in an almost systematic tradition of the director to make blockbusters (in the economic sense of the term, at least), has crashed in the face of James Bond and Venom 2, its competitors for the month of October. To this at least bitter assessment, Scott responded in his own way, the most customary, that is to say by being very grumpy.
Scott realizing that the battle is lost
At the microphone of New York Times for the promotion of his next film set to divide, House of Gucci, Scott was asked about the unfortunate box office performance of his legal duel. Without surprise, he expressed his dismay and compared the reception of his footage to that of Blade Runner (because the film was far from being considered a science fiction masterpiece at the time of its release):
“It was extremely disappointing to see this failure. The most devastating thing is to think that we are going to insure to the public, but actually not. I thought the public was going to buy into Blade Runner and that. At the time, I was crucified by a review from a prominent journalist named Pauline Kael, which is why I haven’t read reviews since.
You must be the sole master of your film. If you start to wonder what people are going to think or want, it will kill you. A good movie stands on its own. Proof of this is that now Blade Runner is in the Library of Congress (the US National Library). ”
“So, Pauline, what were you saying about Blade Runner again?”
While it is true that some of Scott’s works have been reassessed over time, the answer is not so relevant since the question put to him concerns an immutable fact, namely the financial failure of his film. And the economic sinking is all the more significant in the case of Last Duel since it only brought in $ 26 million for a budget of 100 million, where Blade Runner only cost $ 28million and grossed $ 41million (which is far from very good, but it’s certainly less jaw-dropping than The Last Duel).
The statement may even seem all the more sassy as on the side of criticism, the people rather adhered to the Last Duel. On Rotten Tomatoes, we have a solid audience score of 82% and a press review which certifies the film as “fresh” at 85%. On Metacritic, a Metascore (press review) at 67/100 while the audience score is at 7/10. In France, Allociné lists a press review of 3.9 / 5 and an audience score of 4.1 / 5. Even on the editorial side, we embraced Ridley Scott’s duel.
When you think the whole world boycott your movies on purpose
Like what, we can do as we like and please the majority of spectators. The problem is only that The Last Duel did not attract many, eclipsed by fierce and bankable competitors, in addition to having a subject not necessarily speaking. Who knows, maybe the dramatic biopic House of Gucci, coming out on November 24, 2021 in theaters, will tempt a few more people.