James Gray remains proud Armageddon time but admits that the film was not a box office success.
During a recent interview with GKthe filmmaker, known for projects like Ad Astra and The night is oursreflected in the commercial run for the drama Focus Features. Armageddon time, which opened in October after its Cannes premiere, stars Anne Hathaway and Jeremy Strong in a story loosely inspired by Gray’s upbringing. The film has grossed $5.6 million worldwide to date.
“Commercially, the film was a failure,” Gray told the publication. “But that’s all. I mean, I know that’s not true. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is not. But you are now in a situation where literally any of these [non-franchise] movies doesn’t do well, and in some ways that’s the great equalizer.
He continued, “But you also know as a movie person that it has absolutely nothing to do with the long-term reaction to a movie. I’m a movie person and I have no idea what the receipts were from, you know, A Clockwork Orange or something. So I try to separate myself from that as well. Because I can’t help it.”
During the conversation, Gray said he had a good feeling about it Armageddon time and cited a number of reasons why a film like his would have underperformed theatrically, including an older audience still hesitant to return to crowded theaters in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. He also mentioned that smaller art house theaters that could have supported the film had to close in recent years.
Besides, Gray took aim Rotten tomatoeswhere his film has a 76 percent approval rating: “It’s taken all the nuances and actually encourages a three-star review that everyone gives you, unlike that wonderful kind of divisive discussion we used to love, right?”
The director went on to say that distributors may now see a theatrical run as a loss leader, in that even if a movie doesn’t do well at the box office, it will likely do better on PVOD and streaming than a movie that wasn’t. . in theatres. Ultimately, though, Gray doesn’t think box office returns should be a major focus when discussing a project.
“It says something about how indoctrinated we are with capitalism that someone will say, like, ‘His movies didn’t make a dime!'” he said. “It’s like having stock in Comcast? Or are you just such a lemming that you think it’s of value to everyone?”
In his review, The Hollywood Reporter‘s chief film critic David Rooney praised the personal nature of Armageddon time“An unvarnished family snapshot that traces the seeds from which the artist evolved and the hard lessons about life’s unfairness that shaped his character, this is a refreshingly understated drama whose softness makes it all the more bittersweet.”