Topic: Will Napoleon be the next in Ridley Scott’s string of box office flops?


I would very much like to write that in the last few days there has been a surge of interest, especially among younger viewers, the advance sales of Napoleon are finally looking good and the indomitable 85-year-old director Ridley Scott will see another hit after 2015’s The Martian (no, I’m not counting the profitable Gucci Clan) in cinemas. Unfortunately I can’t, but don’t lose heart. Yes, the epic drama is reportedly burdened with a budget of up to 200 million. Sure, the first estimates of American sales stopped somewhere short of 20 melons for the classic three-day and 25-30 balls for the long weekend, when the Americans portion turkeys. However, something is playing into the cards for the most famous European warlord of all time in a big movie.

I do not want Ridley too flattering, but he has my respect. Despite the fact that there have been a lot of box office flops in the last twenty years, they are still spinning. It would be quite enough to have one Kingdom of Heaven under one’s belt, which was torn down by critics eighteen years ago and the audience unfortunately did not find their way to the cinema. Hollywood is relentless, and for every other day laborer in the dream factory, it would mean a stop sign, or shooting cheap straight-to-video or later straight-to-Netflix romances. Scott however, he has built such a strong position over the past decades that Hollywood will not just get rid of him.

Scott Free Productions he is preparing several projects at the same time (the next stop will be Gladiator 2) and as the past years have shown – a flop won’t stop them. There is always a way. And this even in the case of another ultra-expensive historical spectacle with a theme that is still as close to the most important and most solvent overseas audiences as if the story of the dramatic victory of George Washington, who at the end of the eighteenth century was the head of thirteen American colonies, was to us in the middle of Europe. . Well, almost not at all.

I’m not telling you anything new – the mentioned path is Apple. While the biggest Hollywood studio players owned streams Disney+ or Warner MAX they save where they can, the apple doesn’t have to. With a net profit of 100 billion dollars a year, the technology giant has its own Apple TV+ with a toy he can easily afford to invest 200 mega into Scorsese and his more than three-hour-long tragic story of the genocide of American Indians or into the two-and-a-half-hour campaign and relationship entanglements of a European dictator Scott behind the steering wheel.

Knowledge Apple it’s not full of latent cinephiles and it doesn’t throw hundreds of millions of dollars out the window just to please more demanding audiences. Of course, they too are on the stock market and need the share price of their juggernaut to continue to rise. They bet on hard-to-quantify prestige, associated with almost certain Oscar nominations (in the case of critics of Napoleon, who has not been particularly praised so far, at least in the technical categories). Even today, he will perform something similar Netflixbut in the case of recent Fincher’s A killer with a huge budget (some sources say a hard to believe 175 mega) we are talking about a theatrical release on a much smaller scale.

Apple he does it smartly. Scorsese neither Scott although in the past they were not as categorical as Spielberg, who has already made it clear many times that he simply will not shoot for the stream, but… From their conversations in the past (especially in the case of Marty), it is clear that cinemas are also “sacred” for them. So it would be Apple he probably had a hard time convincing with Netflix’s current tactics, where he sends the most expensive films to cinemas halfway around the world (The Slayer didn’t make it to the Czech Republic) a week or so before the premiere is on the stream.

somewhere Apple goes all in. As in the case of the Slayers of the blooming moon, so iu Napoleon it will take months to get a handful of subscribers Apple TV+ will receive an “exclusive” streaming premiere. Accomplished distributors Paramount and Sony Pictures are helping with the release in cinemas around the world. Well, we will see the same throwing out of the hoof in connection with the rich apple in a few months in the event Vaughn’s of Spy Argyll: Secret Agent. There, the third in a row – Universal – will help with global distribution.

It is a relatively new tactic, which infinitely rich also tried to a slightly lesser extent in the spring Amazon with the biographical basketball drama Air: The Birth of a Legend. This year, a rather fundamental problem arises for us: How to calculate cinema sales in these semi-streaming cases, given the extremely high budgets each time? And it’s actually worth it when the numbers from the theaters are substandard Apple (and Amazon) you obviously know where, and according to several sources, they will be satisfied if the cinemas manage to pay for at least an expensive advertising campaign accompanying the release in tens of thousands of theaters around the world?

In my opinion it has. We can assure you a hundred times that the tech giant’s proxy is the box office, because all of their (almost certain) movie losses will be paid for by the 24-hour sales of “iPhones” in Asia, but make no mistake. Promo is a nice thing, but they surely keep a close eye on Friday’s box office estimates every weekend, so let’s break down the box office outlook in more detail.

America most likely won’t lose a pound overall. That’s already clear and it doesn’t matter if it’s the last one for now Scott’s the film will open at 15, 20 or maybe 30 million. Napoleon will rely heavily on Europe. Not only Czech students know very well how things went down in the field near Slavkov two hundred years ago, and of course the trailers + clips bet on that and target us to a large extent. I would easily guess now that the European states, led by the most important ones – i.e. Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Spain and, last but not least, France – will pour into Apple/Sony’s coffers well over twice as much as the USA. In my opinion, even 150 melons from Europe alone is within reach.

I’ll stop for a second with France. The actor’s strike is over, and thanks to it, a few days ago, the red carpet was walked in Paris. Of course, French journalists were also invited to the world premiere and, unlike their more satisfied colleagues from the rest of the world (Rotten only has a slightly above-average rating of 6.7/10), they cursed. As in my opinion of the great Marie Antoinette by Sofia Coppola lamented the Anglo-Saxon rendition of their holy histories and Ridley Scott must have remembered on that occasion the overwhelming French reception of his leisurely wine romance The Good Year.

Ridley they do not seriously address the longings of the critical community there, and at first glance the visible historical inaccuracies of Napoleon passes with its flush: “Were you there then? So be quiet”. Maybe a bit arrogant, but just right Scott I think he can afford it at eighty-five. Not to mention that, just like in the past, the director does not claim that he filmed an accurate description of major historical events.

It’s possible that with a quarter-billion global estimate (60 US, 120-150 Europe, rest of Asia and South America) I’m being overly cautious with the spectacle and Napoleon will go even higher. However, I insist on one thing – it won’t be because of Joaquin Phoenix. Although he has already shown many times in the past that he has a flair for interesting projects, he is not a star. Joker’s Billionaire is still relatively fresh, but back then nobody really went to the cinema to see a new one Phoenix. Everyone went for the most interesting character from the DC Universe.

I’ll put it another way – for the last few months, we’ve been hearing lamentations from all sides that the sales of motion pictures were falling precisely because of the actor’s strike and the zero amount of Instagram photos from the premieres, etc. There was a noticeable lack of promotion, they say. AT Napoleon it doesn’t really matter, does it Joaquin and Vanessa they posed in Paris and someone will interview them in the following days Fallon or Colbert. I think sales would be almost identical if the strike hadn’t ended yet. We are not seriously talking about another Dune here, because in Napoleon he doesn’t play Zendayawhich every second teenager follows on social networks.

I admit that when Ridley’s 100 million The Last Duel flopped badly in theaters the year before, and thanks to a completely botched launch, the historical drama told from multiple perspectives took a hauntingly low 31 megas globally, I was sad. Although the average rating of 7.3 on Rotten was no masterpiece, it was one of the films of the year not only for me. I was annoyed that similarly massive and ambitious trips to history would not get a triple-digit budget again. Fortunately, I was wrong.

We can curse at the scared Hollywood studios, which in vain pour hundreds of millions of dollars into more and more useless comic books and the return of characters from our youth, whose comeback no one actually cared about. Despite all the bad reviews, however, much more interesting and similarly expensive films are still being made. They just don’t finance them The Warners or Disney.

In the past, almost every time after a big flop, we heard that this is the end and we won’t see another genre epic from a popular director for a decade. Well, you see. What failed Stanley Kubrickit finally worked Scott. Napoleon it’s here, it’s likely to make hundreds of millions at the box office, but we still have cautious reason for optimism. Although this time it is not based on simple sales lessons and a crowd of teenagers in multiplexes, but rather on the fact that people shop on Apple, but also on Amazon mobile phones with an apple on the back. Movies will find a way.

The article is in Czech

Tags: Topic Napoleon Ridley Scotts string box office flops


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