Babylon is already (unfortunately) one of the biggest memes of 2023

babylonyoung prodigy Damien Chazelle’s new film is a disaster at the American box office.

In the list of American filmmakers emerging in the 2010s, Damien Chazelle is undoubtedly one of the most popular among the general public. In just a few films and years, the director managed to get out of independent micro-film at the end of his studies (Guy and Madeline on a park bench) to a studio film produced by Universal (First Man – The first man on the moon), due to minor success at the Sundance festival (whip) and the Oscar-winning phenomenon (La La Land).

This year, it kicks things up a notch with a bigger budget ($80 million, including marketing), new celebrity comedians (Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie) and a three-hour origin story. ‘Hollywood. Whether babylon Just released in our French cinemas, the film was released in the US at the end of 2022, which was an important condition to compete for the 2023 Oscars. Unfortunately, it was expertly hacked there: The autopsy report on this impressive US box office crash.


Fact Reminder: Released over the 2022 Christmas long weekend, babylon immediately began to worry Paramount experts it grossed just $4.8 million at launch. The amount is lower than the predictions hovering around $5 million, up to 12 or even 15 million for the most optimistic sources.

Excluding inflation, this is one of the worst starts to Brad Pitt’s career, especially since only the early 2000s. Full front ($739,000 in 2002), The killing of Jesse James by the coward Robert Ford ($147,000 in 2007) and The Tree of Life (372,000 in 2011) has been worse (but starting with limited editions, this is not the case at all. babylon 3343 with the splash screen).

Post-Babylonian Depression

The third weekend of its activity (January 6-8), babylon earned only 1.4 million. So the movie only recently passed whip and its $13 million domestic gross (adjusted for inflation), while a more than $75 million budget difference separates the two films’ scale and financial share. At the same stage of its activity, La La Land It also grossed 13 million, but in contrast, it was only released in more than 700 theaters. babylon and more than 3,300 movie theaters.

same for me the first manWithout being a monster success, it crossed $16 million by its opening weekend. So, babylon is already shaping up to be a major disaster in Damien Chazelle’s career. Recall that in 2014 and for a budget of 3.3 million dollars whip it earned nearly $50 million at the worldwide box office.

La La Land, grossed over $447 million worldwide in 2016/2017 and cost $30 million. Finally, even the budget 59 million the first man It was surpassed by the film worldwide in 2018/2019 with a cumulative revenue of 105 million. according to Deadline, babylon if he exceeds the limit he will be lucky 20 million dollars at the domestic box office by the end of the exhibition.

Babylon: photo by Tobey Maguire“Team No Way Home!”

the baby screams

I have to say this babylon suffereda number of (more) aggravating factors. While the increase in Covid-19 and flu cases is a big part of that, a terrible storm hit much of the US over the Christmas long weekend. Elliott, “Blizzard of the Century”As New York State Governor Cathy Hochul said, it froze theaters and cut box office revenues sharply ($58 million less than the previous weekend for the entire industry).

Moreover, if babylon Not suffering from strong competition in the mid-budget auteur segment during this period, the Damien Chazelle-directed film had to weather another storm at the end of 2022.Avatar 2. Actually, it was released a week ago babylon, Waterway and more than the 63 million raised that week, probably a little shadow the film with Brad Pitt and Margot Robbiealthough this factor is difficult to measure

Babylon: picture, Margot Robbie“No, but Avatar 2 will never work…”

Another unstable variable is the American press. Since their first showings in mid-November 2022, babylon It received mixed reviews from British critics. Directed by Damien Chazelle, Baby holds a score of 55% (based on 271 critics) on Rotten Tomatoes and 61/100 (based on 59 critics) on Metacritic. From there, it’s only a step to say that the film’s success is stifled by a very average word.

Also, keep in mind that films from the history of cinema are legion, some of which have achieved great success in darkrooms (Artist and $133 million worldwide against a $15 million budget, In the shadow of Mary and is far from a majority with a worldwide gross of 117 million against a 35 million budget (Hitchcock and grossed $27 million against a budget of $15 million, airman and 213 million in revenue, saving 111 million against the international budget of 110 million).

So if tens of millions of viewers can tune in for three hours to explore the planet Pandora, it’s a real gamble to devote the same amount of time to a Hollywood origin drama. A very bold bet, highlighted by a budget that will increase slightly after the various problems involved The Covid-19 pandemic and its usual downtime and resumption of filming. The budget hike will not be able to shore up the film’s deficit.

Babylon: photo, Brad Pitt, Diego CalvaDoes Hollywood no longer dream/dream?

International La La?

the success of babylon It is therefore completely unavailable within the US. But what about international box office? according to Deadlineprofit margin babylon Taking into account the approximately 80 million marketing budget spent on the film, it will be around 250 million dollars worldwide. So if Damien Chazelle’s new baby can make $20 million at the domestic box office, it around $230 million internationally to start making money.

Mission impossible? as always Deadline, Paramount is looking to cut marketing costs after the film flopped in the US. Too bad, movies directed by Damien Chazelle It is generally well received outside the United States. proved by numbers whip, that’s about $49 million worldwide, with 73% of that earned internationally. The film even collected $11 million in South Korea, not far from $13 million in the US.

Babylon: photography, Diego Calva, Lucas HaasA New Hope (international)?

same for me La La Land WHO earned more than 66% of its 447 million international revenueincluding about 20 million in France (2.7 million admissions), 35 million in China, 37 million in the UK, 38 million in Japan and 50 million (!) in South Korea. the first manmeanwhile, it earned 57% of its 105 million international take, including 10 million in the UK.

For this reason, it will be seen in case of release babylon In France, the UK (at the end of the month) and South Korea (February 2023), it will save the good Damien Chazelle’s hips. To note A trip to the Oscars could bring him some kind of prestige important for the rest of his career in darkrooms. And for good reason, babylon will likely walk away with a statuette or two (especially in the technical categories), as evidenced by its five nominations at the last Golden Globes, including one that earned composer Justin Hurwitz the award for best film score.

Babylon: picture, Margot RobbieA certain Hollywood ending?

Hollywood End

It remains a perennial observation that an entire segment of Hollywood cinema, mid-budget (roughly $50 to $100 million) auteur films, seems to be dying. Three thousand years are waiting for you (60 million), The house of Gucci (75 million), Alley of Ghosts (60 million), West Side Story (100 million), Amsterdam (80 million) and now babylon…times are tough for big-budget arthouse films.

in front of 14 of the 20 biggest US hits of 2022 are from franchises the rest are mainstream entertainment or horror films (Elvis, but it’s a biopic about one of the most famous music artists of all time). What will be the next big movies from big filmmakers? And what about Michael Mann’s big comeback (Ferrari) and Francis Ford Coppola (Megapolis)?

to wait some established filmmakers continue to eschew theaters to stay on streaming platformsfor example David Fincher (Killeron Netflix), Martin Scorsese (Assassins of the Flower Moonon Apple TV+) and Ridley Scott (Napoleon also on Apple TV+).

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