Robert Eggers on The Northman’s disappointing box office returns

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The Northman was always going to be a commercial risk, and director Robert Eggers has been reflecting on its box office struggles.

It still feels quite remarkable that a film as individual and apparently uncompromised as Robert Eggers’ latest movie The Northman. Made for around $70m, the film was released and backed by Universal Pictures earlier this year, and its returns so far sit at $66.8m worldwide. The movie has just hit video on demand platforms in the US, and won’t be far behind here in the UK.

Eggers has been chatted about the apparent commercial failure of the film in an interview over at The Daily Beast. He’s pretty candid too. “I think it met the expectations of a bad marketplace”, he argued.

“Am I disappointed that, three to four weeks in, we’re on VoD because that’s the way things are done in the post-COVID world? Yeah. But it’s doing great on VoD, so there you go”.

He did hint at problems during the making of the film, suggesting that it was “difficult in post-production”, against reports of the studio not being particularly hands-off at that stage. And he also adds that he’s adapting his approach for whatever this new normal is. Whilst he’s still going to be very much himself, he does say ““I need to restrategize in terms of what I’m pitching to a studio. Like, how do I be me and survive in this environment? Because while they wouldn’t have me anyway, I wouldn’t want to direct a Marvel movie, and I’m also not going to try to get the rights to Spawn or something either”.

You can read more of Eggers’ interview here. The Northman is just about still playing in UK cinemas.

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