Updated: Jan 10, 2022
Ridley Scott has been a popular director since 1979, when Aliens was released. And he's no fluke, he's directed several accredited movies since then, including Blade Runner in 1982, Thelma and Louise in 1991, Gladiator in 2000, and most recently, The Last Duel and House of Gucci, which were both released this year.
Scott has had major success throughout his career, until The Last Duel completely flopped at the box office despite great reviews. What did Scott blame this lack of viewership on? Millenials. What else?
His exact words in an interview from Marc Maron's WTF Podcast:
“I think what it boils down to — what we’ve got today [are] the audiences who were brought up on these f***ing cellphones. The millennian [sic] do not ever want to be taught anything unless you’re told it on a cellphone… This is a broad stroke, but I think we’re dealing with it right now with Facebook. This is a misdirection that has happened where it’s given the wrong kind of confidence to this latest generation, I think.”
Interesting that he refers to Millennials as the latest generation, when that honor goes to Gen Z, who are between the ages of 9-24 currently. This means many of them, myself included, are of age to be viewers of R rated films such as the Last Duel. Seeing as Gen Z is the generation that grew up with cellphones, maybe that's who he meant to blame instead of millennials? It seems as if Scott is stuck in the past and mindlessly hurling insults at a generation he has no real knowledge about.
You'd think in a pandemic world with a declining economy and a large wealth gap, not to mention the struggle that all movies are facing nowadays due to streaming services being a more convenient and often cheaper alternative to going to the theater, you might have something else to blame it on? Other than shaking your fist at kids and yelling at them to get off your lawn?
Millennials did make up the largest moviegoing demographic according to statistics from 2017-2019. But generally, when a movie flops, while movies like Dune make $373 million in the box office, you don't blame it on the audience (or lack thereof) you blame it on your own marketing technique, and how the film itself draws viewers in, or doesn't. Why is it so hard for old Hollywood directors to take accountability for their own business ventures when they don't succeed?
You might think it can't get worse than that, but it can. In an interview with Ilya Glazkov, Scott acted out like a child, cursing at an interviewer who had suggested that The Last Duel was more realistic than some of Scott’s previous films. When you consider that his previous films such as Alien had a lack of realism to it, it isn’t much of an insult. It’s clear that Sci-Fi films like these don’t require the same amount of realism as other genres to be creative and successful. Many even rely on a lack of realism or fantastic elements. However, all Scott said in response to this interview question was:
“Sir, f*** you. F*** you. Thank you very much. F*** you. Go f*** yourself, sir. Go on.”
Overall, it seems as if Ridley Scott can’t handle criticism in his line of work, to the point of blaming others for his own financial failure. It’s a shame to see great directors act this way. They are people that many young filmmakers look up to, and nobody wants their hero to lash out at one’s generation. It seems as if decades in the spotlight has had a bad effect on Scott, certainly inflating his ego.