Despite its star-studded cast and big-name director, Ridley Scott’s period drama The Last Duel did not perform well at the box office, making just $30 million worldwide. Ben Affleck, who appeared in the movie, has now reflected on the film’s box office struggles, saying it speaks to where the movie business is at today.
Affleck said in an interview with Matt Damon for Entertainment Weekly that The Last Duel struggling at the box office but succeeding on video-on-demand and particularly iTunes–where it was No. 1 on the charts–demonstrates how much the theatrical movie business has changed.
He said his Oscar-winning movie Argo likely would not be a theatrical release today–instead, it would probably be a limited series, Affleck said. Films that will continue to succeed in theaters will be the “event-ized” movies from the likes of Marvel, as well as known IP, sequels, and animated films, he said.
“I think movies in theaters are going to become more expensive, event-ized. They’re mostly going to be for younger people, and mostly about, ‘Hey, I’m so into the Marvel Universe, I can’t wait to see what happens next,'” Affleck said. “And there’ll be 40 movies a year theatrically, probably, all IP, sequel, animated.”
The Last Duel struggling at the box office really “clinched” this for Affleck. He stands behind The Last Duel as a movie he is proud of, and its success on video-on-demand platforms gives him confidence to believe that audience behavior is simply shifting.
“The Last Duel really clinched it for me. I’ve had bad movies that didn’t work and I didn’t blink. I know why people didn’t go–because they weren’t good. But I liked what we did. I like what we had to say. I’m really proud of it. So I was really confused. And then to see that it did well on streaming, I thought, ‘Well, there you go. That’s where the audience is,'” Affleck said.
As for Scott, he said The Last Duel’s struggles at the box office were attributable in part to millennials and their “fu*king cellphones.”
In addition to Affleck, The Last Duel stars Adam Driver, Jodie Comer, and Matt Damon. It received excellent reviews from fans and critics alike.