Eternals actor Kumail Nanjiani, who plays a race-swapped Kingo in the film, set up a tired Hollywood narrative of blaming moviegoers in case the film bombs at the box office.
Nanjiani took to Twitter, where he reacted to an article from The Direct claiming Eternals had been review bombed on IMDB. The article’s headline claimed, “Marvel’s Eternals Gets Review Bombed for LGBTQ+ Relationship.”
He wrote in a now-deleted tweet, “Looks like we’re upsetting the right people. Eternals opens November 5th.”
Related: Charlie’s Angels Director Elizabeth Banks Blamed Men For Box Office Failure Nearly A Week Before Film Hit Theaters
As noted, this is a tired Hollywood narrative pushed by directors and actors in order to deflect from a poor quality film and an abysmal box office.
Elizabeth Banks infamously tried this tactic ahead of the release of her Charlie Angels film.
The director and actor blamed men for a possibly poor box office performance a week before the film his theaters.
She told Australia’s Herald Sun, “Look, people have to buy tickets to this movie, too. This movie has to make money. If this movie doesn’t make money it reinforces a stereotype in Hollywood that men don’t go see women do action movies.”
She then went on to bemoan men’s taste in films, “They’ll go and see a comic book movie with Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel because that’s a male genre. So even though those are movies about women, they put them in the context of feeding the larger comic book world, so it’s all about, yes, you’re watching a Wonder Woman movie but we’re setting up three other characters or we’re setting up Justice League.”
The film only earned $73 million at the worldwide box office. It had an estimated budget of $48 million meaning it needed to earn at least $120 million to break even.
Related: Terminator: Dark Fate Director Tim Miller on Mackenzie Davis’ Character: “We Did Not Trade Certain Gender Traits For Others”
Banks isn’t the only one to deploy this tactic. Terminator: Dark Fate director Tim Miller described critics of the film as “closet misogynist[s].”
In response to a question about Mackenzie Davis’ character in the film and the criticism the character received, Miller told Variety, “If you’re at all enlightened, she’ll play like gangbusters. If you’re a closet misogynist, she’ll scare the f*** out of you, because she’s tough and strong but very feminine.”
He added, “We did not trade certain gender traits for others; she’s just very strong, and that frightens some dudes.”
Related: Director Tim Miller Blames “Get Woke And Go Broke” Sentiment For Terminator: Dark Fate’s Box Office Bomb
After the film’s release Miller blamed “Get Woke Go Broke” sentiment for the film’s poor box office.
He told Kim Masters during an appearance on The Business with Kim Masters, “There was a lot of ‘get woke and go broke’ sentiment that didn’t help us, but…”
When asked to explain, he said, “There was a lot of issues about having three women in lead positions and all of that stuff. There is quite a toxic atmosphere around this film online, which I was really surprised at. I shouldn’t be, but I was.”
Terminator: Dark Fate only grossed $250.3 million at the global box office. It had an estimated production budget of $185 million meaning it needed to earn around $462.5 million to break even.
Probably the most infamous case of Hollywood deploying this narrative was Paul Feig’s response to criticism of his Ghostbusters film.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, during a panel discussion at PGA’s annual Produced By conference Feig stated, “I have been hit with some of the worst misogynistic stuff. I used to [hear] that people had haters and I was, like, ‘How does that happen?’”
Related: Ghostbusters Director Paul Feig Blames 2016 Election For Film’s Failure
Not only did Feig describe his critics as misogynists leading up to the film’s release, but like Miller he’s gone on to place blame on others even after the film’s disastrous reception.
Back in 2018, he blamed the film’s performance on the 2016 presidential election saying, “I have been dying for somebody to look at Hillary Clinton’s campaign and us, because we were caught in the exact same vortex.”
It definitely appears that Nanjiani is trying to employ the same tactic especially given film critics are panning the movie.
As of writing, the film currently has a rotten 59% on Rotten Tomatoes from 128 reviews with an average rating of 5.9 out of 10.
However, what’s really interesting about Nanjiani’s tweet is that the article from The Direct that he responded to actually shows that more people were giving the film favorable reviews compared to negative reviews on IMDB.
As you can see below, the film received 934 10 out of 10 ratings and only 450 1 out of 10 reviews.
Back in the middle of October, Box Office Pro predicted Eternals would have an opening weekend between $82 and $102 million and go on to earn between $210 and $280 at the domestic box office.
However, at the end of October, those predictions have significantly declined. Box Office Pro now predicts Eternals will earn between $67 and $92 million in its opening weekend and only earn between $165 and $215 million in total at the domestic box office.
Given Box Office Pro’s downward projection it’s not looking good for Eternals and Nanjiani’s comments fit directly in this tired Hollywood narrative.
What do you make of Nanjiani’s comments?