Ridley Scott Blames His Latest Movie Bombing At The Box Office On Facebook And Millennials, Rather Than Pandemic And Poor Marketing

from the no,-no,-it's-the-kids-who-are-wrong dept

I will admit that, until this morning, I had never heard of Ridley Scott's movie The Last Duel. It was released this fall in theaters only, which is a bold move while we're still dealing with a raging pandemic in which most people still don't want to go sit in a movie theater. And so, the box office results for the movie were somewhat weak. Indeed, it's now Scott's worst performing movie at the box office.

The issue, as many pointed out, was that The Last Duel was targeted at older movie-goers. A historical period piece film about a duel in France? Not exactly a hit among the youth market, and older folks are still the most concerned about COVID (which makes sense, considering it's a lot more deadly the older you get).

A few weeks ago, Scott admitted he was disappointed in the movie's performance at the box office, but compared it to Blade Runner, which also didn't immediately set the world on fire when it was released, and is now a classic.

But, now, having thought about it some more, Scott has decided that it must be Facebook and the kids these days who are at fault for not wanting to see his two and a half hour period piece epic. Going on Marc Maron's WTF podcast, Scott insisted that he had no problems with the way the film was marketed, but ripped into "millennials" (who, um, aren't as young as he seems to think they are) and... Facebook. Because if we've learned anything these days, it's that no matter what goes wrong with your life and plans, you can always blame Facebook for those failures:

“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,” Scott said.

“This is a broad stroke, but I think we’re dealing with it right now with Facebook,” Scott added. “This is a misdirection that has happened where it’s given the wrong kind of confidence to this latest generation, I think.”

I honestly don't even know what any of that means. People had "the wrong kind of confidence" and that's why they didn't want to sit in an enclosed theater for nearly 3 hours to watch a movie about two French guys fighting in the 14th century? And it's because Facebook didn't tell them to go? Does that mean that the movie's social media marketing wasn't well done? Or what?

Not everything is the fault of Facebook (or millennials). Sometimes, people just don't want to watch your movie.

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Filed Under: marketing, millennials, ridley scott, social media, the last duel
Companies: facebook


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  • icon
    Norahc (profile), 23 Nov 2021 @ 9:32am

    Another old guy raging at the internet? Must be a day ending in a 'y'.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Nov 2021 @ 9:46am

    The millennian [sic] do not ever want to be taught anything unless you’re told it on a cellphone

    Maybe we'll soon enter the age where "only on cellphones" replaces "only in theaters?"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Lostinlodos (profile), 24 Nov 2021 @ 9:53pm

      Re:

      I sure hope not. Don’t care about theatres but I go wants to watch a movie on a cell phone.
      Not anyone that cares about the quality experience any way! Hell, I won’t even watch YouTube on my cell phone!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 25 Nov 2021 @ 8:07am

        Re: Re:

        Weirdly enough, there's a huge number of options between going to an IMAX theatre and watching something on the smallest phone you can find.

        I know that some filmmakers don't want to admit that "50"+ TV with decent sound in your own living room" is the actual modern fallback position for many people who don't want to put up with the downsides of a cinema, but let's not all follow them into that stupid false dichotomy.

        The funny thing about this argument is that it actually tracks throughout history. David Lean probably didn't want people watching Laurence Of Arabia on a 12" black and white TV, panned and scanned with fuzzy reception like the first time I saw it, but I don't recall him using the existence of that possibility as a reason why cinema was doomed unless we cut off that option. I'd still watch a pristine 70mm print if one were to ever come to a cinema near me.

        I will, of course, watch a movie on my phone if I'm in a situation where I don't have much choice, like when I'm commuting or in an airport, but the fact that I not so long ago did that regularly had a lot more to do with my work schedule and access to a cinema than it did it being the way I actually wanted to watch a movie on a decent big screen. All this sort of news does is make me think that next time I'm going to a cinema, I won't be watching the movie of a filmmaker who thinks I should have no other option, even though I do go as much as possible for me personally.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Nov 2021 @ 9:47am

    This is genuinely the first time I've heard of it. I'm neither a millenial nor on facebook though. Marketing his movie by complaining about it's poor performance is an odd choice.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Samuel Abram (profile), 23 Nov 2021 @ 9:51am

      Re:

      He also doesn't understand when Millennials were born. I'm an older millennial and I was born in 1982 which means I'm 39 years old, and I'm old enough to not want to see his 1492 Columbus apologia in the theaters when it came out.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 23 Nov 2021 @ 1:20pm

        Re: Re:

        Well... people don't seem to know when Boomers were born either. Or don't care. Or just want a label for some vaguely-defined mindset they want to other. Not creating an apology for Scott here, whatsoever, he's lost his marbles.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Samuel Abram (profile), 23 Nov 2021 @ 4:50pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Boomers were born in the baby boom after WWII, or at least according to its definition. Do I have it right?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 24 Nov 2021 @ 8:16am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Yup. Are you acting like you don't know what i mean, lol?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Samuel Abram (profile), 24 Nov 2021 @ 9:25am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Well people are hung up on generational ages vis-à-vis generational mindsets. My mom’s a boomer in age but not a boomer in mindset.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 24 Nov 2021 @ 6:47pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Well, that's reasonable. I would think that less than half the Boomers aren't Boomers in mindset, given the definitive mindset some have ascribed to them. i think it's funny and descriptive anyway. For my money, Silent Gen is way worse tho. They are still way dangerous. Lots of Gen X as well.

                But my point is, mischaracterizing whole generations or ascribing a stereotypical mindset via generation-slurring is done with crazy-low accuracy by millions. So what's the difference if you are way out of the age range when characterizing someone as "Millennial" or Boomer? (Except the Boomer shit is usually way funnier, until it just gets stupid. And Millennial sounds way cooler than Gen Y.)

                Overall, i don't think most people popularly using the terms know what the age range or their supposed characteristics are. They just like saying stuff they think is clever and trendy and probably insulting somehow. Not everyone, to be sure. Just most.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Lostinlodos (profile), 24 Nov 2021 @ 10:00pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Op could still call yourself gen X if you want.

                I’m definitely gen X.
                Which has always been early 70s to early 80s. Or mid 70s to mid 80s. Following on disco and hippy and boomer. Y for the 90s. What happened to Z? They were a thing and then z just got cancelled out with y? Why?

                People can’t even agree on what “millennials” are date wise. Some say people who came of age at the millennium. Other say people born then.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Nov 2021 @ 1:03pm

      Re:

      Scott melting down over it is genuinely the first time I have heard of the movie. It opened in Australia over a month ago so I am genuinely surprised that I have not seen a single thing about it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 24 Nov 2021 @ 3:21am

        Re: Re:

        The only marketing I've seen (UK) is a theatre trailer when I went to see the latest bond film. If it's being targetted at people like me (older demographic)
        , it fails bacause my first thought was "no thanks"

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 24 Nov 2021 @ 8:01am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I was aware of the movie because there were interviews on Mark Kermode's radio show / podcast, but what you said is pretty much the main thing to be aware of - in the middle of a pandemic where some people were waiting for the Bond film to even consider going back into the cinema for any reason whatsoever, "no thanks" is quite a valid response.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 24 Nov 2021 @ 3:26am

        Re: Re:

        The only marketing I've seen (UK) is a theatre trailer when I went to see the latest bond film. If it's being targetted at people like me (older demographic)
        , it fails bacause my first thought was "no thanks"

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Nov 2021 @ 9:48am

    The Last Whatnow?

    Techdirt. Literally putting more effort into making the general public aware of this film's existence than the studio's own marketing department ever did.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Samuel Abram (profile), 23 Nov 2021 @ 9:52am

      Re: The Last Whatnow?

      And the MPA complains that Techdirt is against them when it's doing its industry (or at least one of its products) a huge favor here!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Nov 2021 @ 9:55am

    I heard about it

    I heard about it before it came out. It's just that it didn't have enough giant robots to appeal to me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Zinc Whiskers (profile), 23 Nov 2021 @ 9:59am

    Bad Hair Day...

    If you want people to remember this movie...just mention Matt Damon and Ben Affleck...😂

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Nov 2021 @ 10:06am

    Huh. While I sometimes enjoy a period piece, I am not young, nor do I use facebook. #notyourdemographic

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Samuel Abram (profile), 23 Nov 2021 @ 10:09am

      Re:

      Not to mention that wasn't it that it's older people using Facebook? Ridley Scott has lost the plot (no rhyme intended, but it fits).

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      JMT (profile), 23 Nov 2021 @ 3:05pm

      Re:

      As a fellow not-young Facebook avoider, but also a massive Ridley Scott fan, I took one look at this and thought "nah, not my thing".

      It's always a shame to see your heroes turn into grumpy old men who can't accept we're in a very different world than 20 years ago.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 23 Nov 2021 @ 4:33pm

        Re: Re:

        I turned 38 today. I'm an old man who can't get with the times and don't understand the youth culture.
        But I am not blaming the kids for my own inadequacies.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    nerdrage (profile), 23 Nov 2021 @ 10:30am

    just not a theatrical movie

    Sorry, Ridley. Theatrical movies have changed and now you need a lot more eye candy and immersive experience to drive people into theaters. This could be through silly comic book stuff, or it could be slightly more elevated, like Dune. But a bunch of medieval people aren't going to do it, not unless it's Game of Thrones: The Movie (and even then, those fans have been so alienated that it's best not to try).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 23 Nov 2021 @ 11:49am

      Re: just not a theatrical movie

      silly comic book stuff

      Ha, nice Ridley Scott impression. You really nailed the whole "old person being dismissive of what's currently popular" tone.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        JMT (profile), 23 Nov 2021 @ 3:14pm

        Re: Re: just not a theatrical movie

        Calling it "silly comic book stuff" isn't necessarily dismissive. It's a perfectly accurate description of some really great recent movies, but also a few very average ones. The problem is that there's just been too much of it, and the movie industry expends a disproportionate amount of time and money on supposedly sure-thing money makers at the expensive of fresh original content.

        Not that I think Ridley Scott has the answer here...

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 23 Nov 2021 @ 7:44pm

        Re: Re: just not a theatrical movie

        nerdrage has a Torrentfreak history of somewhat ambivalent perspectives on, say, copyright infringement and the role of platforms.

        Alternatively he's just an enthusiast for the devil's advocate method. A pretty mediocre enthusiast.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Nov 2021 @ 10:44am

    First of all most young people are leaving Facebook, we are in a pandemic the movies that might be hits will be aimed at young people older people will watch movies on Disney or hbo max another day old man shouts at the Internet young people are on insta or tik Tok now
    The Internet has replaced rock and roll
    Anything can be blamed on it

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Nov 2021 @ 10:53am

    Now if it had been set on Titan or Ganymede...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jordan, 23 Nov 2021 @ 10:59am

    Legal Aspect

    Not to be critical but what legal or technical aspect of this article meshes with the subject of Techdirt?

    Does it boil down to "Old Man yells at cloud?"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 23 Nov 2021 @ 11:45am

      Re: Legal Aspect

      Techdirt frequently covers stories about noted public figures blaming young people's relationship with technology for various financial failures or social ills.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Damien, 23 Nov 2021 @ 11:48am

      Re: Legal Aspect

      It doesn't boil down to "old man yells at cloud. It does, however, boil down to "legacy media icon blames current market failure on internet social media and tech-oriented demographics rather than admit his movie lacks market appeal".

      Seriously, this isn't the first time Techdirt has covered legacy media whining when the people in it act like this.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 23 Nov 2021 @ 2:48pm

      Re: Legal Aspect

      Articles like this are tech related because they serve as demonstrations of the magic code TD has built into their site that forces people to read articles they wouldn't otherwise be interested in.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      JMT (profile), 23 Nov 2021 @ 3:16pm

      Re: Legal Aspect

      It's always funny when people who've obviously never read Techdirt feel the need to critique their editorial decisions.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 24 Nov 2021 @ 4:41am

      Re: Legal Aspect

      "Does it boil down to "Old Man yells at cloud?""

      Sort of. More accurately it'd be "Old Man yells at internet and technology".

      A sci-fi movie director failing to understand how modern technology works is sort of within the purview of techdirt. Now if he'd been blaming something other than "teh intarwebz" for his film failing it'd not belong here, I think.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 23 Nov 2021 @ 11:04am

    The fact that the film had a graphic rape scene⁠—which was also technically a plot point, given that the eponymous duel was literally meant to settle whether the woman was raped by one of the men in the duel⁠—probably didn’t help matters, too. The best marketing in the world can’t overcome a word-of-mouth campaign that tells everyone what the marketing either couldn’t or wouldn’t.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 23 Nov 2021 @ 3:03pm

      Re:

      The fact that the film had a graphic rape scene⁠—which was also technically a plot point, given that the eponymous duel was literally meant to settle whether the woman was raped by one of the men in the duel⁠—probably didn’t help matters, too.

      Bloody hell no wonder they failed in marketing if that was what they had to work with.

      Well that's certainly a way to start my day disgusted. 'We shall duel to determine whether a woman was raped because us stabbing each other is the proper way to decide that'. Yeah can't imagine why a movie with a graphic rape scene and a motive like that might not be something people would want to see.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 23 Nov 2021 @ 3:32pm

        Bloody hell no wonder they failed in marketing if that was what they had to work with.

        To be fair, that’s what the actual factual duel on which the film is based was about: Jean de Carrouges accused Jacques Le Gris of raping Marguerite de Carrouges, and (long story short) King Charles IV called for a duel⁠—the final judiciary duel in French history, hence “The Last Duel”⁠—wherein the survivor would be declared the winner and the matter would be settled. (Side note: If de Carrouges had lost the duel, his wife would’ve been burned at the stake as punishment for a false accusation.) So…yeah, that says a lot about Ridley Scott’s taste in scripts if that’s the kind of story he thinks people want to see these days.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Mike Masnick (profile), 23 Nov 2021 @ 5:55pm

          Re:

          So…yeah, that says a lot about Ridley Scott’s taste in scripts if that’s the kind of story he thinks people want to see these days.

          To also be fair, in the interview, he explains that he felt this was actually interesting in highlighting a kind of early "me too" scenario, in which the woman Marguerite de Carrouges actually stood up and accused Le Gris of rape at a time when it was next to unheard of for a woman to do so. So he claimed that he thought the time was ripe for a "me too" hero from centuries ago.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 23 Nov 2021 @ 8:39pm

            Further proof that bad execution overrides good intent.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 24 Nov 2021 @ 1:35am

            Re: Re:

            He could potentially be right about that, but poor marketing still failed to convince people that they want to go and see such a thing at the cinema during a pandemic while the entire industry is in a state of severe depression. He's been working long enough to know that light entertainment tends to be more popular in a time of real world hardship, and that such a heavy subject matter would be a hard sell even pre-COVID.

            What's interesting to me is that in various other forums where this has been discussed, people just didn't know about it. The most common reactions I've been seeing in places like r/boxoffice are either "wow, didn't know this existed" and "I wanted to watch it after seeing the trailer a while back, but I didn't know it was out yet". If people who go to a subreddit that's dedicated to discussion of current box office trends didn't know your movie was in cinemas, what hope do the general public have of knowing that?

            It's a shame that Scott would rather come up with idiotic attacks on his potential audience rather than deal with his own marketing staff, especially as he's experienced extreme marketing failure before, but I suppose he didn't have phones to whine about with his last few flops.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Nov 2021 @ 12:21pm

    Boomerisms aside, this is a clever move. He probably doesn't actually think this, but blaming his own studio's marketing isn't a good look, and this way he's getting tons of free publicity.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Samuel Abram (profile), 23 Nov 2021 @ 12:28pm

      Re:

      So in other words, he's weaponizing the Streisand Effect? That actually makes sense…

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 23 Nov 2021 @ 3:06pm

      Re:

      In may be getting him a lot of publicity but contrary to what some may think all publicity is not in fact good publicity. Better to be unknown('Who/what's that?') rather than known for something negative('Oh I know who/what that is and I want nothing to do with it').

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Rico R. (profile), 23 Nov 2021 @ 12:28pm

    SMH at this nonsense, but...

    At least I'm glad to see the old legacy players are branching out and blaming other so-called ills of the modern-day internet for a film's failure instead of just focusing on the boogeyman of piracy!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Nov 2021 @ 12:37pm

    At least he got one thing right...

    "This is a misdirection" - yes, Mr Scott, your statement most certainly is a misdirection.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Nov 2021 @ 12:58pm

    Well, if the film is as lucid and organized as his other thinking, maybe we know why no one paid for theatre tickets?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    mcinsand, 23 Nov 2021 @ 1:29pm

    an old fart that saw the previews and paid attention

    I am part of the target market, and I saw the previews. Covid or not, I wouldn't have gone even if free. The movie looks boring AF!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Nov 2021 @ 1:30pm

    Standard operating procedure

    Everyone in Hollywood blames the audience when their movies flop these days. The only thing remotely different about this one is he didn't go for the default scapegoat of Evil White Men being ists and phobes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bobvious, 23 Nov 2021 @ 2:06pm

    Speaking of the Streisand Effect,

    as others have above, I'm actually much more interested in now watching the full theatrical release of this road rage classic, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duel_(1971_film)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Nov 2021 @ 2:13pm

    How "Millennial" of him...

    ...to declare Millennials are responsible for his shitty movie's performance, rather than take responsibility himself.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Nov 2021 @ 3:05pm

    tired of same old

    same old actors always in everything for the past 20 years. personally, sick of it. also, if you are going to do a historical piece about england, how about adding some realism with some british / european actors, eh?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 23 Nov 2021 @ 3:50pm

    No it is the children who are wrong.

    Just watching yet another human blaming anything but himself for his poor decisions.

    He is 100% committed to this delusion & magically ignores the pandemic, the content, & the tastes of audiences in deciding it is THEIR fault that his masterpiece tanked.

    I swear the most important person these types could hire is someone paid NOT to just agree with them but explain how insane they are.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      sumgai (profile), 23 Nov 2021 @ 5:36pm

      Re:

      ... and succeed at that explanation, i.e. the dumbass calls off the project that surely would've failed big-time.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Nov 2021 @ 8:00am

      Re:

      Just look at Hollywood and their works - it isn't a coincidence that many of the plots which make it through are inherently so narcissistic that looking at it from the outside makes it clear the "hero" they are unambiguously and unironically on board with is a narcissistic psychopath. Narcissism is just deep in their DNA.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Nov 2021 @ 8:28am

      Re:

      Actually, after reading more about this, and more comments since yesterday... i have to wonder just how young is the prospective/target audience he's blaming for not watching his gig? And why is no one older to blame? He didn't expect the average Ridley scott fan age group to watch it?

      IDK he makes so little sense that i am sure i am over-thinking this and these things are not worth asking.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That Anonymous Coward (profile), 24 Nov 2021 @ 10:37am

      Re:

      To keep up my rep as a sociopath I need to share a thought that struck me after this...

      Isn't this the brother of the man who convinced himself he had cancer & ended his life based on that knowledge... and they discovered he never had cancer?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Basil Cartryte (profile), 24 Nov 2021 @ 9:09am

    Definitely a marketing failure, maybe a movie-making failure

    I saw ads for this movie. Nothing about those ads made me want to see it, or even made it clear what it was about. And I'm a Boomer who reads medieval literature for pleasure, so you'd think I would be the target market for something like this.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That Anonymous Coward (profile), 24 Nov 2021 @ 10:35am

      Re: Definitely a marketing failure, maybe a movie-making failure

      No the children were supposed to love it, only in a theater, surrounded by unvaccinated people who want to live int he age depicted on the screen.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Nov 2021 @ 11:15am

    Now, if it were one of the wackier duels noted in history (there's one where they threw billiard balls at each other... in hot-air balloons) or a movie about how Andrew Jackson and Davy Crockett teaming up to kick a would-be assassin's ass, I'd have slightly more sympathy

    As it is, yeah, he clearly did not think his tlrant out properly, the Hollywood money-swallowing little hypocrite.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    bhull242 (profile), 25 Nov 2021 @ 5:25pm

    So many problems.

    1. Millennials and young people are less likely to be on Facebook. It’s actually becoming a running gag that only older people use Facebook anymore.

    2. Millennials are getting older. I’m a millennial, and I’m 30.

    3. Honestly, the marketing sucked. The only reason I knew the movie existed before I heard about this story is because my parents happened to see it and I remembered that, and they watched it because they wanted to go to see a movie, and that one happened to be showing. Sure, they loved it, but none of us learned it existed through any marketing or before the movie was released.

    4. Millennials weren’t even part of the target demographic to begin with.

    5. Fewer people are going to theaters right now due to the pandemic (among other factors), so releasing the movie in theaters exclusively was going to reduce the success compared to previous films.

    6. The competition is streaming, not Facebook or smartphones.

    Seriously, I don’t understand why us millennials are always to blame for stuff like this in general, but this is absurdly wrong.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Lostinlodos (profile), 25 Nov 2021 @ 6:38pm

      Re:

      Fewer people are going to theaters…

      End of sentence. The idea has lost its charms long ago and theatres were slowly on their way to death BEFORE the pandemic.

      It’s not even streaming according to Nielsen. The $200 40” tv was enough to knock it over the line. Not specifically but the generic “TV is better” response is telling.

      The value of the dollar debate has shifted completely into the low end of home entertainment. Be it a rental for 1.99, a stream for .49-24.99… it’s the same price at home for one person.

      Because you look at $10 a ticket and $10 popcorn and $5 sodas, and the price just is outrageous.

      Knowing that they are low volume and capacity limited, less people, less shows, less dirt and goo and noise… and yet people still don’t want to go?

      The lake of marketing isn’t even that big of a problem. When no one even looks up a theatre schedule, doesn’t even consider going at all?

      The sooner the MAFIAA figures out theatres have zero hold over them the sooner they stop worrying about “lost”, aka non-existing, revenue.
      Long gone are the days where a chain threatening not to carry films had any real market teeth to delay other formats.
      It’s high time studios just say sod off to theatre chains. They make more money in streaming and DVDs anyway.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 26 Nov 2021 @ 2:46am

        Re: Re:

        "The idea has lost its charms long ago and theatres were slowly on their way to death BEFORE the pandemic."

        The problem isn't that the cinema had lost its charms, it's that the way theatres are operated haven't really been going the way that's needed to inspire customers for all but the bigger movies.

        You're correct about concession prices, but this is one place where they've been between a rock and a hard place. They know that significantly raising ticket prices will put people off, even if they make their concessions reasonably priced. Then, studios take a cut of the ticket prices before they see a penny (and some studios, such as Disney, demand a much higher percentage than others, so they can't even give the smaller movies a break and make up any shortfall on the guaranteed blockbusters).

        So, the immediate way of making any profit at all is with concessions. Some smaller theatres have carved out niches by, for example, offering full bar service, proper food menus, actual ushers who will go around telling idiots to shut up when they disturb everyone else, but this require upfront investment - and some studios have insisted that studios upgrade the tech and install equipment they didn't want in order to just get the movies.

        This has led to an unfortunate homogenisation of the market as well. You might be interested in watching a new drama or arthouse movie, but there's only one screening a day that gets displaced quickly to make way for a 4th screen for the new blockbuster, since people are seeing that and not the movie that depends on word of mouth to build an audience. So, because people don't want to make an 80 mile round trip to the one cinema that's still playing it, it's considered a flop and the blockbuster gets the 4th screen from day one next time instead of the more interesting movie.

        That's what's so silly about some of Scott's ramblings - if there's a problem that's stopping "millennials" from caring as much about the theatrical experience as he does, it's the direct fault of his employers. The studios he works for have made the theatrical experience a production line that can largely be experienced at home, and their attempts to attract people to cinemas with gimmicks like 3D and 4DX have left the people who would have wanted to experience more subtle works on screen with fewer choices outside the home, and the people who go to them regularly being the ones experienced in theme park ride. He works for Fox and Disney - it's literally his employers who have created this marketplace, and that's even without the problem of how badly marketed the film was that he's whining about here.

        "It’s high time studios just say sod off to theatre chains."

        Except, it's more complicated than that, and people who actually care about cinema think the same thing as well - we're just interested in helping the independents survive. We don't really care that the multiplexes who put the same movie on 1/3 of their screens (but don't do anything to make sure projection is up to scratch and people are behaving) are finding it difficult to attract people and that we might be left with only one multiplex playing the same thing as the other 4 used to. We care about the theatrical experience offered by people who care about it - and those are struggling too.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Lostinlodos (profile), 28 Nov 2021 @ 1:58pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          No, I agree with you on multiple points here.

          I’m a huge fan of theatres that are not part of the chain multi-/mega-plexes.

          I’ve been to pens ranging from turn of the century that hardly work to modern future-retro builds.
          Where people care. The owners, the crew/staff, the movie goers.

          This is totally the opposed of the chain system where it’s just a job from top to bottom.
          Crowded, noisy, dirty. Over priced. The latest pos from Hollywood on half the screens.

          They exist, but it’s rare to find owners/operators of megaplexes that care about the industry.

          And film consumerism has slowly moved away from the forced environment of big chain screenings. Where you are herded like cattle. Searched on entry. Not for weapons but for a cell phone.
          Paraded to the $10 hotdog and chips. Then marched across the sticky floor shoved into the porous “comfort” seat that hasn’t been cleaned in 6 months.
          Where you sit through 15 minutes of trailers to watch a movie partly drowned out by the noise from the screen a room over and partly by the kids in the back making a running laugh track.

          And when some arse throws popcorn or dumdums and wakes the sleeping baby we get 10 minutes of crying and pleading about not being tossed out after spending $50 and it’s really those meddling kids.

          Or

          Spend 14.99 at home, make a $2.00 bag of popcorn and pop the $12.99 case of beer and sit back and enjoy the spatial audio from the $299 40” screen you picked up on sale.

          3 groups of people go to theatres today. (As an overgeneralisation).

          Those who want to be part of the rowdy experience that it has become. The trouble makers.

          Those that can’t afford modern-ish home a/v.

          And those who can’t make the “80 mile” drive to an independent.

          The latter two groups spend half their time bytching about the former.

          Big chain shows just aren’t fun any more!

          And here’s the thing with my sod off comment. My personal, but studied, opinion:
          The current general clientele (outside of opening weekend) don’t give two shites about what they are going to see. Not ultimately. The actual profits won’t have much of a bump or dip for the actual location if they say fuck you over a film’s rules and rates. Loosing a film isn’t going to kill a chain.
          And if multiple chains and chain franchises say go to hell?
          Those collection prices will come down.

          It’s not like they can go to an independent that makes $50k a year and offer a first run for $1mil up front!

          You can’t stab the hand that feeds you if it doesn’t like being stabbed.
          Look at the high drop in HBO views when it killed the prime contract.
          If you don’t work in giving people what they want, you wind up alone.

          When a theatre chain says sod off, the studio, not the chain, will be the one most hurt.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 29 Nov 2021 @ 2:33am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "And if multiple chains and chain franchises say go to hell?
            Those collection prices will come down."

            That will definitely not happen at the major chains. Especially now. The major chains are in the business of treating movies as production line product, so they're not going to break any relationship with the studios who create exactly that kind of product. In 2019, just telling Disney to piss off would have means not screening Avengers: Endgame and 5 other movies that made up the top 6 movies of the entire year, totalling $3 billion domestically. The same major chains in the US also run chain internationally, where these movies made even more money than that, and even if they only wanted to take a stand domestically, they would be jeopardising their entire business by even suggesting it.

            Now, movies are naturally making less money due to the pandemic, but 4 of the top 10 most profitable movies from this year were still Disney. So, the industry is still stacked toward Disney, and it's not a good idea to piss off your main supplier, especially as Disney hold all the main cards - they can just remove the window they already conceded to and cost along until the surviving chains come crawling back. Any CEO in any type of company who even suggested alienating the company's main supplier would immediately be fired by the board and replaced with someone who would play ball.

            "When a theatre chain says sod off, the studio, not the chain, will be the one most hurt."

            As usual for your takes, this is an idealistic but very wrong take based on the facts. The major theatre chains are struggling massively, several have been in or close to bankruptcy already due to the pandemic, and they are no longer the only way in which people can consume first run movies. The major studios aren't hurting so much as they are in a phase where theatrical revenue is being displaced by streaming and other revenue. They can do without cinemas for some time, and partner with whoever's left after AMC go under.

            Smaller chains and independents can get by with creating attractive venues for cineastes to support, but the venues that are mainly seen as places to go and see the latest theme park ride-style blockbuster can't survive long without said blockbusters - this was true before, but the pandemic has weakened them enough that they really don't have the power to resist the people who provide that content.

            This is a problem of their own creation - for the last couple of decades, the major chains have been involved in chasing massive opening weekend numbers, and not supporting smaller titles that depend on word of mouth rather than marketing blitzes. So, they've edged out the smaller titles that could support them over a medium term and sold all their screens to a handful of studios who now have complete power over them. This won't be resolved by those chains telling the suppliers that provide 80-90% of their income that they're not interested in them.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Lostinlodos (profile), 29 Nov 2021 @ 11:00am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              See, I’m not worried about AMC or Regal or the others.

              It’s my opinion but:
              I’m not sure much harm would be done to the industry as a whole if they simply died off. Leaving behind the hundreds of thousands of independents with 1 or 2 screens.

              Before covid I would see more than 12 films in a year in theatres. I can’t remember the last time I was in a chain multiplex. Early 2010s?

              Maybe a shake up could create some parity.
              Because where are you going to spend your money.
              A family of 4 with kids. Do you spend $19.99-29.99 opening night to stream it, or $20 a person to go to the theatre.

              The theatre experience has now been surpassed by all but entry level home A/V.
              That means the big theatres need to gimmick or lower the price to bring people in.
              That’s why we get things like ‘stunning 4D 8K imax’ and the like.
              Which is a good pull once or twice.
              Covid only sped the process. Theatre attendance has been dropping for a LONG time. Well over a decade year over year.

              It’s about time they start looking in the mirror to figure out why.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 30 Nov 2021 @ 1:53am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "That means the big theatres need to gimmick or lower the price to bring people in."

                Gimmicks are a failure long term. They're expensive to implement, and by their nature require support from the studios. You can have the greatest 3D screen in the world, but you're not going to attract blockbuster numbers if none of the recent studio movies have a 3d print.

                "Which is a good pull once or twice."

                Exactly - once or twice. Do you know how much that equipment costs?

                The basic problem is that these cinemas have sacrificed everything that should make the cinema experience special, and so have created something that people are choosing not to go to. It used to be that cinemas had ticket staff, concessions staff, ushers, projectionists, etc. Now, you buy your ticket after waiting for the people in front of you to work out what popcorn they're buying, don't have much backup if the people around you are being disruptive, and there might not be anyone to complain to if the projection is messed up.

                Those could be things you'd put up with if there were other advantages, but those have disappeared in many areas too - a 10 screen multiplex used to mean you'd get at least 10 different films to choose from, now you just get the same movies playing everywhere else. This is why the big chains are in trouble, not because of pricing or lack of gimmicks, but because they offer nothing compelling - especially during a pandemic (if you can't trust them to throw out people using their phones or having loud conversations, why would you trust their ability to enforce proper public health measures?).

                There's no easy fix for the major chains because they've manoeuvred themselves into a position where they're set up only to funnel through the latest blockbuster until the next one comes out, but the answer is sure as hell not to sacrifice their main revenue stream while spending massive amounts of money on short-lived gimmicks, as you seem to be suggesting.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  Lostinlodos (profile), 30 Nov 2021 @ 4:11am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Do you know how much that equipment costs?

                  Yes, quite precisely.
                  A 60hzX2 (120fps acl) projector starts at $3500 for a low end pioneer and tops out around $40k.
                  They go higher but if you go higher your a gimmick fool!

                  Passive glasses top out at $2.50-$5.00 and active shutter glasses in bulk (20+) run $5-$20 each.

                  3-point vibration motors cost $30 per 3. Or $4500 per 50 seats.

                  To be basic on this: setting up an imax 4K real 4D 50 seat theatre screen for digital display on the lower end of prosumer/entry com would cost:

                  $24999 for a Martin 5K 160 projector.
                  $4500 in motors
                  $4000 in MD8 wire
                  $12000 in speakers
                  $59999 for a 21.4 +8 tuner
                  $10000 in active glasses
                  $400 in copper tp cable.

                  And I don’t believe we’re disagreeing… all that much.
                  The problem with chain megas is they’ve willingly become a modern slave to the 1919 version of company display.
                  When you go to a mega and the same movie is on 20 of 30 screens you have a problem. A major one!

                  I’ve long wondered how the nearly always empty lot at the Ogden 16 running 3 movies managed to stay afloat.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    kingbad (profile), 26 Nov 2021 @ 12:05pm

    Just wait

    Boy, if Ridley Scott was aunhappy about the audience reaction to this movie, wait until he sees how they respond to "House of Gucci", a genuine gold-plated turd.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Nov 2021 @ 10:11pm

    I'm not even a millennial but of course some of my family are. That he trashes them over something that isn't their fault at all as if the world owed him anything makes him look arrogant and toxic as hell.

    Pro tip: Alienating an entire generation doesn't help you snag more fans. I for one will be making a point of not watching his movies. His extreme arrogance and entitlement really soured any positive opinions I had about his previous movies.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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