The Goldfinch director John Crowley has blamed the film’s catastrophic box office performance on audiences’ obsession with superhero films.
The movie adaptation of Donna Tartt’s award-winning literary novel has made less than $5 million in U.S. cinemas – well below its $45 million budget, despite an all-star cast including Nicole Kidman, Ansel Elgort and Sarah Paulson.
Reflecting on the poor performance, Crowley tells British newspaper The Times that he believes its down to modern cinemagoers’ lack of interest in going to see “complicated, emotional dramas” in theatres – as they most often opt to stream them at home.
He says the “middle ground of the film world is all but lost”, and adds: “You can do the micro-budget thing or the superhero thing. It is tricky to get that audience away from their streaming devices.”
Although The Goldfinch has made headlines as 2019’s biggest flop and has been savaged by critics, Crowley has no regrets, as he’s still proud of the movie.
“I still wanted to make a film, I still believe in that experience,” he muses. “For me the most vivid thing is a large screen, especially when you see a close-up of a face. The film historian David Thomson said there is nothing more beautiful in the world than a close-up of a face changing its mind.”
The Goldfinch, a drama which tells the story of a young man whose troubled childhood leads him into the world of art forgery, debuts in British cinemas on Friday (September 27, 2019).