Last week, the North American Film Market ushered in its annual Thanksgiving schedule. Two new films, "Wish" produced by Disney Animation Studio and "Napoleon" directed by Ridley Scott, were released at the same time.
Poor performance of "Star Wish" drags down Thanksgiving box office total
Previously, the industry generally expected that "Star Wish" would definitely take the top spot during this Thanksgiving season. As a result, this Disney centennial gift film, which cost approximately US$200 million, only earned US$19.5 million in weekend box office after being released in 3,900 theaters; even based on the five-day opening box office starting from Thursday’s Thanksgiving Day, It was only US$31.7 million, far lower than the industry forecasts of US$35 million for the three-day box office and US$45 million to US$50 million for the five-day box office.
"Star Wish" stills
In recent years, Disney has had a tradition of releasing an animated film during the Thanksgiving holiday. Taking advantage of this holiday opportunity for the American people to reunite with their families, these works have often achieved excellent opening results. For example, the 2016 "Moana" made $82 million, the 2017 "Coco" made $71 million, the 2018 "Wreck-It Ralph 2" made $84.6 million, and the 2019 "Frozen 2" made 1.237 One hundred million U.S. dollars.
However, the 2020 epidemic has become a watershed that breaks the tradition. Disney had no new movies scheduled for Thanksgiving this year. In 2021, "Full House" only achieved an opening box office of $40.3 million. By Thanksgiving last year, the five-day opening box office of "Strange World" was as low as only 18.1 million U.S. dollars. In the end, it only received 38 million U.S. dollars in the North American box office and only 73.6 million U.S. dollars in the global box office, which was less than half of its production cost. , can be said to be one of the worst box office hits among Disney animated films in history.
This year's "Star Wish" originally carried high hopes from Disney and even many movie fans, but the final results can only be said to be disappointing again. Moreover, the poor box office of "Star Wish" also directly led to the unsatisfactory total North American box office for the entire 2023 Thanksgiving period. Although the total amount of US$115 million is still a positive growth compared to last year’s US$94 million. But what you need to know is that before the epidemic, the total box office in North America during the Thanksgiving weekend has always been in the top ten of the annual weekend box office rankings. However, this year's US$115 million may not even be in the top 20.
French critics criticized "Napoleon" for seriously deviating from historical facts
The box office champion of this Thanksgiving weekend still belongs to last week's number one "The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes," with a three-day box office of $28.3 million. The film's cumulative box office in North America is approaching the $100 million mark. Ranked second is the topical new film "Napoleon" directed by Ridley Scott. The film opened at the same time as "Wish", and its three-day and five-day box office grosses were US$20.4 million and US$30.5 million respectively, both slightly better. "Napoleon" was produced by Apple Pictures with a budget of approximately US$200 million. It will naturally be on Apple's streaming platform, and the theatrical distribution will be left to Sony Pictures.
Such a large-scale production only received 20 to 30 million U.S. dollars at the box office. Traditional film companies would definitely feel a little nervous. However, Apple, with a market value of nearly 3 trillion U.S. dollars, does not care much about the profits of the movie itself. How much. What they care about is the traffic-draining effect of "A Thousand Dollars for Horses", how many subscribers it can attract to Apple TV+, and how much exposure it can get during the awards season. Therefore, I’m afraid we won’t really know until “Napoleon” hits streaming media early next year whether the results are in line with investment expectations. Ridley Scott has also promised that "Napoleon" will have a nearly four-hour director's cut that will be released on Apple TV+.
Whether a British director's English-speaking biopic of the French emperor can be recognized by French audiences has naturally become a hot topic. As far as box office is concerned, on the first day of the film's release in France last Wednesday, about 120,000 people entered the theater and earned about 868,000 euros in box office revenue. Of course, compared with the 360,000 and 150,000 viewers of "Barbie" and "Oppenheimer" on the day they were released in France, there is still a big gap between "Napoleon", but compared to the director's two previous works, "The Gucci Family" and "The Last Day" "The Duel" had 20,000 to 30,000 first-day moviegoers in France. The results of "Napoleon" are already good enough. In the past, Scott's most popular film in France was "Gladiator" 23 years ago. The film received a total of 4.7 million French audiences and nearly 200,000 viewers on the first day of its release.
However, critical feedback was quite different. The French media, regardless of whether they were left, center or right, almost unanimously criticized the film for being poorly made and believed that it seriously deviated from historical facts and was indeed a model of historical nihilism. A film review article in Liberation, a traditional left-wing newspaper, pointed out that the film was ugly and hollow. The film critic of "Le Monde" believes that if the film has any merits, it can only be "simple and clear", because it simplifies Napoleon's life into the only things of love and military exploits. There are two story threads, and the whole film is 157 minutes long, just switching back and forth between the two.
As for the right-wing newspaper "Le Figaro", although it took this opportunity to launch a 132-page special issue commemorating Napoleon, the attached film review article also denounced the film as "ignoring history." Currently, a total of 32 relevant film reviews have been collected on the French film website Allocine. The overall score is 2.9 (out of 5), which is lower than the new films "Mars Express" (4.0) and "No More" that premiered at the same time. "Can't Lose" (3.5 points), which is also lower than the still-released Miyazaki Hayao's new film "The Boy and the Heron" (4.2 points), "The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes" (3.1 points), France's "Olympic Games" Movies" "French Pot" (3.1 points), etc.
In these French media articles, the director's British identity was particularly highlighted. Most of them believe that only French directors can film the story of the French emperor well, and it is simply impossible for foreigners, especially the British across the English Channel. "This movie was shot so hastily. It's not hard to imagine that this is the British Ridley Scott taking revenge on us." "Duck Call", which specializes in satire, wrote, "He thought this was a movie Is it the Austerlitz victory in the field? Wrong, I think this is more like a Waterloo defeat."
The veteran French historian Patrice Guenifer, who has written Napoleon's biography "Road to Empire" and other works, wrote an article for "Viewpoint" magazine, criticizing the film for being "very anti-French and very pro-British", but also ridiculing it. He said that this would make it look less "British", "because the British have always had a tradition of worshiping their enemies."
However, according to Catherine Porter, a reporter for the New York Times in Paris, the French criticism of this new film can well reflect the current overall atmosphere in French society, that is, the strong invasion of American culture has made French people increasingly Cherishing the historical legacy left by Napoleon, especially influenced by the political correctness trend in the United States, France has also launched a movement to re-evaluate Napoleon in recent years, and began to criticize his racial discrimination and misogyny. In the eyes of the right-wing French government and opposition parties, this approach of disregarding the times and applying modern values is really unreasonable, and this new Hollywood film produced by Apple Pictures has naturally become their target. .
Director Ridley Scott was completely dismissive of criticism. In an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), he even said proudly that the French are famous for being critical and even look down on themselves. It's only natural to criticize him for his Napoleon films. Finally, the old director also responded with a killer reply that could instantly kill any "historical" criticism: "Were you there at the time? Oh, you weren't there. Then how did you know?"