The award for first box office bomb of 2016 goes to: Gods of Egypt. Congrats to everyone involved, including director Alex Proyas, who really isn’t having a good weekend. Film fans of all sorts must have waited to be glued to their TVs to watch the Oscars all weekend because while Gods of Egypt did come in second on the box office charts, it managed to make only $14 million at the domestic box office against a reported $140 million budget. It’s not quite the omnipotent number that movie studio Lionsgate was hoping to see.
The movie has has a difficult history from the outset. Last November following the release of the film’s trailer, people criticized the whitewashing of the cast, which is made up of almost entirely white European dudes. Scottish actor Gerard Butler and Danish actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau aren’t necessarily the first two people you’d think of as Egyptian gods. Nevertheless, the casting choices elicited a seemingly heartfelt apology from Proyas last year, who told Forbes, “The process of casting a movie has many complicated variables, but it is clear that our casting choices should have been more diverse. I sincerely apologize to those who are offended by the decisions we made.”
Proyas, who previously directed cult hits like The Crow and Dark City, wasn’t as apologetic following the film’s less than stellar performance over the weekend. He took to Facebook to air his grievances in a sprawling and seemingly erratic response to what he sees as critical group think, labelling reviewers in the age of the internet as “less than worthless,” “deranged idiots,” and “a pack of diseased vultures pecking at the bones of a dying caracass, trying to peck to the rhythm of consensus.”
Here’s another little sliver of what Proyas had to say:
“I have rarely gotten great reviews … on any of my movies, apart from those by reviewers who think for themselves and make up their own opinions. Sadly those type of reviewers are nearly all dead. Good reviews often come many years after the movie has opened. I guess I have the knack of rubbing reviewers the wrong way — always have. This time of course they have bigger axes to grind — they can rip into my movie while trying to make their mainly pale asses look so politically correct by screaming ‘white-wash!!!’ like the deranged idiots they all are.”
You can check out the entire post here.
Denial, as they say, isn’t just a river in Egypt, and maybe Proyas made the mistake of not making a good movie. Either way, the failure of Gods of Egypt comes at a critical post-YA series time for Lionsgate.
Its Twilight series ended in 2012, its Hunger Games series went out last year with a whimper, and its Divergent movies — which haven’t really made the culture splash as the other two — set to end next year, Lionsgate is without a lucrative franchise to boost it up. For every John Wick, there’s a Last Witch Hunter unlikely to make the case for future sequels. For both Lionsgate and Proyas, it’s back to the drawing board. There shouldn’t be a “bizarre consensus of opinion” about that.