‘The Mummy’ Director Latest Filmmaker to Make a Movie for Fans, Not Critics
Say you’re filmmaker Alex Kurtzman. To the outside observer, it would appear you have it all: a multi-picture deal with Universal to spearhead their Dark Universe initiative, more money than God, probably a bunch of boats, Tom Cruise’s cell phone number. And yet you’re driven mad by the one thing you can’t seem to get, which is the respect of the critics. Like pretty much everything you’ve ever done, the reviews have been downright vitriolic (and to make matters worse, your latest film The Mummy has not been the cash factory Universal was hoping for, now poised to lose the studio a cool $95 million even after a handsome global gross), souring your day even as you fail upwards into the next multi-million dollar project.
You have no choice then, but to return to that old refrain of the director responsible for a turd that lots of people will go see anyway: ladies and gentlemen, Alex Kurtzman wants us all to know that he made his movie for the fans, not the critics. Kurtzman recently spoke about the The Mummy’s reception with Business Insider and declared that he didn’t even want the critics to praise his film, much in the same way a person might decide to take some time off from someone who has already broken up with them:
Obviously, that’s disappointing to hear... The only gauge that I really use to judge [The Mummy] is having just traveled around the world and hearing the audiences in the theaters. This is a movie that I think is made for audiences and in my experience, critics and audiences don't always sing the same song... I’m not making movies for [critics]. Would I love them to love it? Of course, everybody would, but that’s not really the endgame. We made a film for audiences and not critics so my great hope is they will find it and they will appreciate it.
I cannot help but wonder what, exactly, that’s supposed to mean. Are we to believe that Kurtzman’s on set choices of directorial vision were based on whether audiences or critics will approve? Does he want us to imagine him between takes, wondering if he should frame this shot of Sofia Boutella’s giant ghost-head eating London as an allusion to Ingmar Bergman’s Persona, and then deciding that no, he’s making the film for the fans? Get outta here, Alex Kurtzman. If you wanna sling hot dogs, sling hot dogs, but don’t try to play it off like you just decided not to make the cordon bleu.