|Directed by||:||Alex Garland||Produced by||:||Scott Rudin, Andrew Macdonald||Screenplay by||:||Alex Garland||Based on||:||Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer||Starring||:||by Jeff VanderMeer, Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, Tuva Novotny, Oscar Isaac||Cinematography||:||Rob Hardy||Production company||:||Skydance Media DNA Films|
The Grim Box Office Fate Of 'Annihilation' Was An Inevitable Tragedy
In a different time, Annihilation would have been an A-level theatrical event. It’s a decently-budgeted ($40 million) sci-fi horror movie with a buzzy cast (Natalie Portman, Tessa Thompson, Gina Rodriguez, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tuva Novotny, Oscar Isaac and Benedict Wong) from an acclaimed director (Alex Garland). The film, based on a well-received recent sci-fi novel, arrived onto the scene with mostly rave reviews while containing any number of water-cooler moments and strong performances by its nearly all-female cast. Yet, in this specifically challenging theatrical environment, the mere $11m debut weekend isn’t just a relative failure, but an all-too-predictable disappointment.
Much of the talk about the movie has been centered on Paramount/Viacom Inc.’s decision to sell the movie’s international rights to Netflix, where it will debut on March 12 in much of the world save for North America, China and maybe a few other markets. It is Paramount's second high-profile deal of this nature, following their last-minute handover of Bad Robot’s Cloverfield prequel The Cloverfield Paradox which took place so quickly that the streaming giant was able to drop a teaser during the Super Bowl and then debut the film itself right after the game ended. Sadly, the surprise release was the best thing about it.
And Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, currently in production, began life as a Paramount picture before they got cold feet after Silence flopped. So that $140 million(!) mob drama, starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, will be another high-profile Netflix title. It is tempting to look at these choices as Paramount essentially giving up in the realm of higher-end prestige pictures in favor of Terminator reboots and Sonic the Hedgehog movies. But the last few years have shown a brutal “new normal” in the realm of theatrical moviegoing. Among the major studios, it is Paramount that has struggled the most to adjust.