Ben Affleck thinks his film The Last Duel might have performed better on a streaming service than in cinemas.
The medieval epic flopped at the box office when it was released in October, despite positive critical reviews, and director Ridley Scott recently blamed its poor performance on millennials and their smartphones.
When asked for his take on the flop, Affleck, who co-starred in and co-wrote the film, explained that it shows times are changing in the way people want to watch their films.
“It’s good and it plays – I saw it play with audiences, and now it’s playing well on streaming (on Disney+). It wasn’t one of those films that you say, ‘Oh boy, I wish my movie had worked.’ Instead, this is more due to a seismic shift that I’m seeing, and I’m having this conversation with every single person I know,” he explained to The Hollywood Reporter. “I think maybe (The Last Duel) would’ve done better on streaming because the way (studios and streamers) have of identifying and marketing directly to people who like it is really effective.”
He added that the film’s target audience, who he describes as “people who want to see complicated, adult, non-IP dramas”, no longer want to watch them in the cinema and prefer a home setting.
Affleck noticed this change in viewing habits with his movie The Way Back, which was released in cinemas just before the pandemic struck in March 2020 and was subsequently made available digitally after theatres closed.
“I remember feeling like, ‘S**t, I really love this movie, and no one’s going to see it.’ I could just tell; it’s not going to land in the theatres. People don’t want to go see dramas,” he shared. “Then the pandemic hit, and ironically, one of the first few films that was rushed to streaming was The Way Back, and people did see it. I said, ‘You know what? This isn’t bad.’ I would rather have people see this and watch it, and I don’t need to be stuck to the old ways.”
He concluded by mentioning his three children, saying, “I think you have to adapt with the times or you risk becoming a dinosaur, as my children tell me.”
– Cover Media