The Last Duel was in the theatres for roughly a month, yet the historical epic quickly became a box office bomb, grossing just $28.1 million worldwide. The film's financial failures have now led director Ridley Scott to blame millennials.
20th Century Studios' The Last Duel is a historical drama that centers on the respected knight Jean de Carrouges, who challenges his friend Jacques Le Gris to a judicial duel after Jean's wife, Marguerite, accuses Jacques of raping her. The film stars big names like Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Adam Driver, and Jodie Comer. While it performed poorly financially, The Last Duel was met with critical acclaim for its direction, the performances, and the writing (currently with an 86% on rotten tomatoes), as many viewers believe it to be one of Scott's best films since his 2000 Oscar-winning Gladiator.
Scott recently spoke on Marc Maron's WTF podcast about his career and his recent work, which includes two films being released in 2021 (The Last Duel and House of Gucci). As for his explanation for The Last Duel's box office failures, Scott blamed Millennials for not giving the film a chance. “I think what it boils down to — what we’ve got today [are] the audiences who were brought up on these fucking cellphones. The millennian [sic] do not ever want to be taught anything unless you’re told it on a cellphone,” said Scott. “This is a broad stroke, but I think we’re dealing with it right now with Facebook. This is a misdirection that has happened where it’s given the wrong kind of confidence to this latest generation, I think."
The director would further add that he stood by The Last Duel's script, believing it's crucial to "be your own critic. The only thing you should really have an opinion on is what you just did. Walk away. Make sure you’re happy. And don’t look back." Scott even recalled his box office flop with his classic 1982 Blade Runner, and how that film helped shape his mindset to block out any criticism and continue to make content based on one's own interests. The Last Duel will get a second chance to redeem its low performance, as Disney Plus recently announced the film will be available to stream in select locations starting in early December.
While it's interesting that The Last Duel's star power in front of and behind the camera didn't attract more audiences, it's important to look at the marketing of the film (as there seemed to be minimal advertisements/tv spots presented) and when the film was released (which was around the time when other blockbusters such as No Time to Die, Halloween Kills, Venom: Let There Be Carnage, and Dune were all being released). Either way, it's great to see Disney Plus expanding its content and willing to share this excellent film, as well as Scott continuing to follow his gut instinct by creating more exciting content and not getting bogged down by any critiques or box office flops.
The Last Duel is now playing in theaters.
Source: WTF with Marc Maron
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