The Big Picture
- The Creator disappoints at the box office, reinforcing the studio belief that only franchises and IPs are reliable.
- Director Gareth Edwards’ unique filming process saved millions.
- The film grossed $79 million globally, recovering its budget, but it still falls short of the desired $100 million benchmark.
It’s always disappointing when original movies underperform at the box office because all this does is convince studios that franchises and IPs are the only way to go. Much was written about director Gareth Edwards‘ unique approach to making his new science-fiction film The Creator, which has unfortunately not been able to live up to pre-release buzz at the box office, after playing in theaters for over two weeks.
The film took the fifth spot at the domestic box office this weekend, after debuting at number three, as it added around $4 million to its tally. The Creator has now grossed $32 million stateside, in addition to $46 million from overseas territories, for a cumulative global haul of $79 million. The movie will recover its reported budget of $80 million by Monday, which should give 20th Century Studios a minor reason to celebrate.
Starring John David Washington, the futuristic thriller is set in a world overrun by artificial intelligence — not a wholly original concept in itself, but Edwards’ near-guerilla filming process certainly drew attention. Instead of shooting the movie in a studio, or in The Volume, he dispatched small crews to dozens of international locations to shoot plates that were enhanced in post-production using digital trickery. Edwards estimated that he saved many millions by shooting the movie in this way. It’s interesting to observe just how gradually the pendulum has swung away from this technique, which was considered fairly commonplace not so long ago, towards in-studio production during the reign of Marvel, and back again. But it would’ve been sweeter had The Creator performed even slightly better at the box office. The film is currently eyeing a lifetime global haul of around $100 million, which is a benchmark that the studio would be desperate to crack.
‘The Creator’ Wasn’t Able to Live Up to Pre-Release Buzz
Its biggest international territories are the U.K. ($5 million), Australia ($2 million), France and Spain ($1.9 million each) and Mexico ($1.5 million). Edwards was coming off of a considerable sabbatical, following the back-to-back success of his 2014 Godzilla reboot ($520 million worldwide) and 2016’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story ($1 billion worldwide). The Creator received mixed-to-positive reviews and is currently sitting at a “fresh” 67% score on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. The movie earned a B+ CinemaScore from opening day audiences and Collider’s Maggie Lovitt, who called it “neither a masterpiece nor a complete misfire” in her review.
Also starring Gemma Chan, Ken Watanabe, Sturgill Simpson, Allison Janney, and Madeleine Yuna Voyles, The Creator is currently playing in over 2,900 domestic theaters. Stay tuned to Collider for more updates.