It’s a familiar refrain from filmmakers plagued by bad reviews: “I made this movie for audiences, not for critics,” a tired old chestnut often trotted out when both audiences and critics reject a film. The latest director to lean on this excuse is “The Mummy” helmer Alex Kurtzman, who seems to believe that critics and audiences are so very different that one can claim that something was made with just one group in mind.
Unfortunately for Kurtzman, however, it seems that critics and audiences alike aren’t interested in his Dark Universe-launching actioner.
Earlier this month, Kurtzman explained his philosophy towards audiences to Business Insider. When asked about the dismal critical response to the film (currently sitting at 16% on Rotten Tomatoes), the filmmaker said, “Obviously, that’s disappointing to hear…The only gauge that I really use to judge it is having just traveled around the world and hearing the audiences in the theaters. This is a movie that I think is made for audiences and in my experience, critics and audiences don’t always sing the same song.”
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He added, “I’m not making movies for them. Would I love them to love it? Of course, everybody would, but that’s not really the endgame. We made a film for audiences and not critics so my great hope is they will find it and they will appreciate it.” (Weirdly, Kurtzman seems all too happy to forget that critics are audiences, too, and many of them are people who love movies so much that they went ahead and made an entire career out of watching and discussing them as part and parcel of that love. But, no, he’s not making movies for them.)
Kurtzman is no stranger to bad reviews, as his feature directorial debut “People Like Us” earned mixed ones when it bowed back in 2012. The filmmaker is still best known for his writing projects, and a fair number of them have also been dinged by critics, including “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” (so bad, it ended a planned trilogy), “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” and “The Legend of Zorro.”
But copious bad reviews have hardly stopped Kurtzman-crafted films from bringing in big bucks at the box office, and the filmmaker has penned some of the biggest hits in recent years. He’s also benefitted from good reviews, including his work on both “Star Trek” and “Star Trek Into Darkness,” both of which are “certified fresh” on RT.
Kurtzman’s claim that his “Mummy” was made for audiences isn’t exactly shaking out at the box office. After an okay start during its initial week of release — it pulled in $42 million that first week, though that was still half the box office take of big winner “Wonder Woman” — the film tumbled from the number 2 spot to number 4, and its second weekend earned just $14 million (yes, from audiences). And that’s hardly the whole story of what looks to be one of the summer’s biggest box office debacles.
Deadline has done a very deep dive into the financial fallout of the film — check it out here, it’s a doozy — coming to the ultimate conclusion that the “movie stands to lose an estimated $95M off of a final estimated global box office tally of $375M. That’s $75M at the domestic B.O., and $300M from overseas.” Even with a top spot at the overseas box office, the film will likely lose a bundle, and seems further destined to take a major hit when “Transformers: The Last Knight” opens later this week.
Looks like the audience (including critics, who also love movies) have spoken.
“The Mummy” is in theaters now.