Ryan Reynolds: ‘Green Lantern’ Failed Over ‘Too Much Money’ Spent on ‘Special Effects,’ Not ‘Character’

"It was not a feeling I wanted to repeat," Reynolds said of the box office bomb.
Ryan Reynolds in Green Lantern
Ryan Reynolds in "Green Lantern"

Ryan Reynolds is calling out the “old school” thinking that in part led to the infamous “Green Lantern” box office bomb.

The “Free Guy” star detailed how it took years to “process” the flop that was the poorly reviewed 2011 superhero film, which barely grossed back its budget of $200 million.

“There was just too many people spending too much money and when there was a problem rather than say, ‘OK, let’s stop spending on special effects and let’s think about character,'” Reynolds said during the Just For Laughs comedy festival in London’s O2 Arena (via The Independent) opposite former co-star Rob Delaney.

Reynolds continued, “That just never…the thinking was never there to do that. And to their credit, it’s a very old-school way of looking at things. It’s just, ‘Let’s just keep spending our way through this.’ And it didn’t work.”

The “Deadpool” star added, “At the same time, there are 185 people that worked on that movie – they all had an amazing time, we loved shooting it. Truly, shooting the movie was a lot of fun. But, you know, sitting in that premiere, watching that…Oh my God, it’s tough. The words were ‘holy shit’ and ‘no, no!’”

Reynolds concluded, “It was crazy. It was an odd feeling. It was not a feeling I wanted to repeat. So I really spent the following years just owning as much as I could, it was the only way to kind of process it.”

The star revealed in 2018 that he had never seen the “full final version” of “Green Lantern.” He later live-tweeted his reaction to watching the theatrical release of the film in 2021, writing in part, “There’s a lot of heavy hitters in the movie. Not always used in the right way … but still … heavy hitters” in reference to Oscar nominee Angela Bassett and late star Michael Clarke Duncan.

Reynolds also added at the time (via People), “Hundreds of incredible crew and cast members did amazing work — and while it’s not perfect, it ain’t a tragedy.”

“Green Lantern” was directed by Martin Campbell, who after the film did not return to the world of superhero IP.

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