Ridley Scott discusses The Last Duel box office failure, superhero films

The Last Duel
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Ahead of the release of House Of Gucci, director Ridley Scott has been reflecting on the commercial disappointment of his recent drama, The Last Duel. 

Ridley Scott has been in the directing business for a long time and as such, he’s no stranger to the odd disappointment here or there. Blade Runner, one of the most feted films in the science fiction genre, was a box office bomb upon release. It ultimately found its audience over the next decade to become a cult classic and milestone in the history of cinema. As such, as he prepares to unveil his next drama, House Of Gucci, to the world, Scott seems downbeat, yet pretty sanguine about his last film The Last Duel’s commercial failure.

He told Deadline that “it was exceedingly disappointing. The fatal thing is when you think you’ve got it, you haven’t – I thought I’d got it on Blade Runner and I hadn’t! I was crucified by a big critic at the time called Pauline Kael. It’s why I never read critiques, ever. You have to be your own decider – if you worry about what the audience is thinking and what they may want, that’s fatal. A good film will find itself, and now Blade Runner is in the Library of Congress.”

Scott also used the opportunity to punch down on superhero films, saying, “almost always, the best films are driven by the characters, and we’ll come to superheroes after this if you want. They’re f—ing boring as s–t. Their scripts are not any f—ing good. I think I’ve done three great scripted superhero movies. One would be Alien with Sigourney Weaver. One would be f—ing Gladiator, and one would be Harrison Ford Blade Runner. They’re superhero movies. So, why don’t the superhero movies have better stories? They’re mostly saved by special effects, and that’s becoming boring for everyone who works with special effects, if you’ve got the money”.

Scott is moving onto his Napoleon epic Kitbag next, before a Gladiator sequel that he says is currently being scripted.

Has he got a point about superhero films do we think? Without meaning to sound cynical, the movement of both big superhero studios towards a multiverse format is exciting many fans because of the potential to see past characters return, recycling stories and characters we’ve already seen, in some cases, decades ago. Whether you buy what Scott is saying about him having made ‘superhero’ films or not, what is indisputable is that the films he mentioned certainly had good stories, and weren’t ‘saved by special effects’, a common criticism of the current wave of superhero movies. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


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