Oh, Internet. You’re so adorable and yet, so incredibly infuriating sometimes. Because you can’t just be happy with seeing a filmmaker express an honest opinion, you have to characterize anything that’s not PR-speak as a “rant.”
Here are the headlines re: A series a Max Landis tweets expressing disappointment in the box-office performance of American Ultra, as well as the notion that original movies simply do not sell.
That’s just four of the headlines that have covered these tweets, and all four characterize it as a rant.
Now, read the following tweets, and ask yourself: Is this a rant? Or is this just a screenwriter expressing some reasonable frustration with the fact that moviegoers didn’t turn out to see a movie he wrote, despite it clearly being the best new option available this weekend:
So here's an interesting question: American Ultra finished dead last at the box office, behind even Mission Impossible and Man From Uncle…— Max Landis (@Uptomyknees) August 22, 2015
…American Ultra was also beaten by the critically reviled Hitman Agent 47 and Sinister, despite being a better reviewed film than either..— Max Landis (@Uptomyknees) August 22, 2015
…which leads me to a bit of a conundrum: Why? American Ultra had good ads, big stars, a fun idea, and honestly, it's a good movie…— Max Landis (@Uptomyknees) August 22, 2015
…Certainly better, in the internet's opinion, than other things released the same day. If you saw it, you probably didn't hate it…— Max Landis (@Uptomyknees) August 22, 2015
…so I'm left with an odd thing here, which is that American Ultra lost to a sequel, a sequel reboot, a biopic, a sequel and a reboot.— Max Landis (@Uptomyknees) August 22, 2015
…it seems the reviews didn't even matter, the MOVIE didn't matter. The argument that can/will be made is: big level original ideas don't $— Max Landis (@Uptomyknees) August 22, 2015
For the longest time, my belief was that the 80s/90s were the golden age of movies; you never knew what you were going to get.— Max Landis (@Uptomyknees) August 22, 2015
The question is: has that changed? I wish I could say Ultra was a bad movie, but it isn't. Divisive, sure. But better than others this week.— Max Landis (@Uptomyknees) August 22, 2015
I feel like I learned a lesson, here, but have no idea what it is. I once joked "there's only so many times people will go see Thor 2."— Max Landis (@Uptomyknees) August 22, 2015
Now, I'm not so sure. Got to get back to work on my TV shows. Which are both adaptations. Go see American Ultra, it's really good.— Max Landis (@Uptomyknees) August 22, 2015
I don’t know why it failed, either. The marketing wasn’t good inasmuch as it never reached me, and as it turns out, I’m the ideal American Ultra viewer: Someone who who might like a stoner Bourne with a wonderful Walton Goggins role and some solid R-rated action. Maybe people didn’t want to see Eisenberg or Stewart in those roles. Maybe people just didn’t want to see Eisenberg or Stewart, or maybe it’s too hard to promote an original movie because the entire movie hasn’t been given away already.
Personally, I think it had more to do with the fact that people just kind of stop going to the movies in the last half of August. American Ultra was pretty good! The Man from UNCLE was a fine movie. If they’d been released in May, more people might have turned out for them, but we all have this perception that anything released in late August will be crap, because most of the time, it is crap.
I still think Ultra may have some legs with home viewers. It’s the kind of film that is well suited to iPad viewing.
In other case, I’d be very reluctant to call what Landis rattled off a “rant.”