Ridley Scott directed some of the most iconic films of the last few decades. His credits include Alien, Blade Runner, Thelma & Louise, and Gladiator among many others. However, not everything that Scott creates is box office gold. In fact, some of his more recent films like Prometheus and Alien: Covenant fell flat. Scott’s most recent directorial outing The Last Duel did not do well at the box office. The veteran director blames millennials.
That’s a strange place to put the blame until you take a closer look at the film. In particular, the casting should have been a huge hit with the generation. After all, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck head up the cast. Millennials love Affleck and Damon. Additionally, it’s a dark, atmospheric historical drama in which King Charles VI commands a knight to settle his dispute with his squire by challenging him to a duel, according to IMDb.
However, The Last Duel only made $28 million against its $100 million budget. Recently, Ridley Scott sat down with Marc Maron on his WTF Podcast. During that chat, the director explained why he thinks his latest film did so poorly at the box office.
“I think what it boils down to,” Ridley Scott said, “what we’ve got today are the audiences who were brought up on these f**king cellphones.” Ah yes, young people with their gadgets. The downfall of humanity. He continued saying that millennials “do not ever want to be taught anything unless you are told it on the cell phone,” according to Variety.
“This is a broad stroke,” Ridley Scott admits. Then, he added, “I think we’re dealing with it right now with Facebook. There is a misdirection that has happened where it’s given the wrong kind of confidence to this latest generation, I think.”
Ridley Scott is Missing Something
Ridley Scott is quick to blame “this latest generation” for his movie flopping. However, millennials aren’t the latest generation. They’re all adults at this point. In fact, the youngest members of the generation were born in 1996 and are 25. The elder members of the generation are 40, born in 1981. Yes, this is a small detail but it bears mentioning.
The big thing that Ridley Scott is missing is the fact that movies aren’t making the kind of money they did before the pandemic. For instance, according to Box Office Mojo, the highest-grossing film in 2019 was Avengers: End Game that film brought in $858,373,000 domestically. This year’s top earner, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings had a total domestic box office gross of $224,503,046. In 2019, that figure would have made it the tenth highest-grossing film.
Additionally, The Last Duel played in just over 3,000 theaters compared to the 4,300+ theaters that saw both Shang-Chi and Avengers. Maybe millennials aren’t ruining everything. Maybe it’s just that the economy surrounding films is changing due to the pandemic and new release models for big studio films.