As Star Wars: The Last Jedi heads into its second weekend at the box office, things are looking up for the film that scored the second highest domestic box office opening of all time. The Last Jedi has made $278 million at the North American box office as of Wednesday, and $295 million internationally. But heading into its second weekend, will that box office success continue?
Despite its financial performance, The Last Jedi's release has been rocked by controversy, most of it surrounding low audience scores on Rotten Tomatoes and a particularly angry breed of internet commenters claiming the movie ruined Star Wars, while critics mostly liked the film, giving it a 93% positive rating on the review aggregator website. While this disparity between audience reaction and critical reception is jarring, it makes perfect sense in the context of a bigger picture of which The Last Jedi's situation is just one piece. The controversy surrounding The Last Jedi is part of a growing shadow war between critics and fans over the success of blockbuster movies that is so mysterious and shadowy it might not even actually be taking place!
In Justice League's case, the critical score for the movie on the holy battleground of Rotten Tomatoes was negative while the audience score was positive, seeming to indicate that moviegoers enjoyed the film more than critics. Furthermore, this has been the case for most of the DCEU movies, which share a similar pattern, except for the universally successful Wonder Woman: critics pan the movie, audiences like it more, box office under-delivers, and hardcore fans blame the critics and the press for hating on the movie. This pattern has affected a group of hardcore DCEU fans over the last several years in strange ways. Regrettable things have been posted on message boards. Very silly petitions have been started. Bots have been deployed to leave fake reviews on The Shape of Water. A quick trip through the comments section of any story about the movie, including this one in a few hours, will yield dozens of volatile comments about the film and about the lies the media is purportedly telling to cover up the film's terribleness.
So is it true that critics purposely tanked the reviews and badmouthed Justice League in the press out of a vendetta against the superhero universe? And have these same critics have inflated the score for Star Wars out of allegiance to (or payola from) Disney, or to further a hidden Marxist social agenda? Could all of this be made better if somebody just released the damn Zack Snyder cut of Justice League?! Is every bit of this wild conspiracy theory true?
We're not here to tell you how to thing. We're just reporting the facts and allowing you to draw your own conclusions.
This wild conspiracy theory doesn't necessarily make up the entirety of, or even majority of, critiques of the film, which run the gamut of complaints anyone would expect from a sequel in a multi-decade franchise. And just as Justice League failed to live up to its potential at the box office, Star Wars: The Last Jedi continues to do well. With children starting holiday breaks this week, the movie's prospects in the near future look good. And, of course, there's the more scientific methods like exit polls outside theaters which have produced higher grades from audiences.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi will pass $300 million in both domestic and international box offices well before the weekend is out, and will probably surpass Justice League's entire global total as well. But rather than proof that the critics were correct in the case of both movies, to true believers of the critics vs audience conspiracy, it will only serve as evidence that the nefarious schemes of critics to influence the box office have been successful. As well it should. Because it's all true.
Wait, sorry, we had that wrong. None of it's true.
Or is it?!