Even directors like Ridley Scott make movies that end up not making any impact at the box office despite getting some critical acclaim. That was very much the case for The Last Duel, which came out only a month ago and that everyone has forgotten was ever released. Some critics liked it, some really hated it, but no amount of reviews made people go out to the box office. Apparently, Scott has set his sights on one group in particular for the movie flopping, and it had nothing to do with the pandemic or the fact that October had a ton of big releases or that maybe people didn't want to watch a two hour period piece about a brutal rape. No, apparently, it's the millennial's fault because Sir Ridley has decided it's time to be the old man that yells at clouds, or at least according to his interview on Marc Maron's WTF Podcast (via IGN).
"I think what it boils down to — what we've got today [are] the audiences who were brought up on these fucking cellphones," said Scott. "The millennian [sic] do not ever want to be taught anything unless you're told it on a cellphone. … 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."
Friendly reminder to Sir Ridley that the oldest millennials are over forty while the youngest is twenty-six, so I'm not sure which Youths Sir Ridley is angry about here. A movie like The Last Duel doesn't tend to appeal to anyone under the age of forty, and they are the people that shouldn't be out and about because of the pandemic. You need to hit a particular cultural zeitgeist to make a lot of money on period pieces; Sir Ridley knows this because he created one of the rare breakouts in Gladiator. Scott went on to say that he thought Disney did a very good job of marketing the movie and that he stands by it regardless of the underperformance at the box office.
"That's the call you make," he said about taking on the project. "That's the call Fox made. We all thought it was a terrific script. And we made it. You can't win all the time. I've never had one regret on any movie I've ever made. Nothing. I learned very early on 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. That's me."
Perhaps if the movie gets some sort of awards nominations, people will go back and check it out, but there are so many other movies that do what The Last Duel does better that it is probably going to get lost. These things happen; Scott knows that these things sometimes happen, so the fact that he decided to point fingers isn't something you'd expect from a director of his caliber. It seems somewhat beneath him, if we're being honest. Regardless, Scott has another movie out this week with House of Gucci; let's see how that one performs.
Summary: From 20th Century Studios comes The Last Duel, visionary filmmaker Ridley Scott's gripping tale of betrayal and vengeance set against the brutality of 14th century France. The historical epic is a cinematic and thought-provoking drama that explores the ubiquitous power of men, the frailty of justice, and the strength and courage of one woman willing to stand alone in the service of truth. Based on actual events, the film unravels long-held assumptions about France's last sanctioned duel between Jean de Carrougesand Jacques Le Gris; two friends turned bitter rivals. When Carrouges' wife, Marguerite, is viciously assaulted by Le Gris, a charge he denies, she refuses to stay silent, stepping forward to accuse her attacker, an act of bravery and defiance that puts her life in jeopardy. The ensuing trial by combat, a grueling duel to the death, places the fate of all three in God's hands.
The Last Duel, directed by Ridley Scott, stars Matt Damon, Adam Driver, Jodie Comer, and Ben Affleck. It was released on October 15th.