With a hugely underwhelming opening weekend in the US of just $19 million, Jupiter Ascending is another in a long line of films from the Wachowski siblings where the box-office has failed to match the grand, epic-scale ideas of their films. Their previous two films, Cloud Atlas and Speed Racer, both flopped on release, with final grosses of $130 million and $95 million respectively from budgets of considerably more.
Speaking just before Jupiter Ascending’s opening to The Wall Street Journal, the sibling duo had already spoken about how their access to hundreds of millions of studio dollars may be about to come to an end.
“Everyone says, ‘Why can’t you be simpler?’”, states Lana. “We’re drawn toward difficult subjects, like the disparity of rich and poor….. We’ve been lucky. People at studios have been interested in our crazy, strange brand of complexity. And we’ve been allowed to keep making them. Will that continue? Probably not.”
“But it was a good run,” Andy added.
Jupiter cost upwards of $175 million to make, and already had a cloud of negativity surrounding its release after Warner Bros. pushed back the release date of the film from last July to last weekend. And while their creativity and originality is certainly to be admired and rewarded, money talks and in a world where franchises and “brands” are making $200/$300/$400 million, it’s a shame that such original thinking just doesn’t hold up against ready-made properties.
But one thing that may keep the creative juices flowing for the filmmakers is their upcoming Netflix show Sense8, which Netflix’s Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos is already raving about.
“It’s the best four hours of anything we’ve done,” Sarandos said (via Deadline). “Their film reviews have been brutal, and everything after The Matrix didn’t go well, but if you look at the earlier cuts of their films before they had to jam them down to 120 minutes, it’s amazing. There’s a four-hour cut of Cloud Atlas that will blow you away…..From a budget standpoint and a running time, it’s every bit as big, if not bigger, than their feature films….Who knows if they’ll ever direct a film again? They might have found their niche with episodic drama.”
We may well never see the uncut four-hour version of Cloud Atlas for a while, particularly after its loss at the box office, but it may well be a fascinating watch as the original version is admired by many in the film world.
Now on general release across the UK, you can read our reviews for Jupiter Ascending, starring Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis, here, here and here. Listen to the Flickering Myth Podcast review using the player below:
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