Dakota Johnson Addresses Madame Web Failure With Brutally Honest Words


If you’ve spent any time online over the last few months, it’s really no surprise that Madame Web didn’t pull in huge box office numbers. From the “He was in the Amazon with my mom when she was researching spiders right before she died” meme that sprouted from the first trailer to Dakota Johnson’s brutally honest press tour promoting the movie, it’s been hard to take any part of this film seriously.

Nearly a month after Madame Web’s release, the verdict is in, both critically and financially: it’s not very good, currently holding a 13% Rotten score on Rotten Tomatoes. The film has also only made $91 million globally, a flop by most standards, especially considering the movie reportedly cost $80 million to make, not counting its marketing push. What the hell happened for things to go so very wrong for Sony?

Dakota Johnson spoke briefly with Bustle about the overall negative response to the film, once again giving a brutally honest answer about the movie’s fate: “Unfortunately, I’m not surprised that this has gone down the way it has.”

According to Johnson, making Madame Web was “definitely an experience,” but not necessarily one that she’d like to repeat. She says, “I had never done anything like it before. I probably will never do anything like it again because I don’t make sense in that world. And I know that now.”

But it’s not that she didn’t like working with her co-stars or the director SJ Clarkson – Johnson has explicitly said that she trusted Clarkson throughout the process, despite her apprehension of working in front of a blue screen. Instead, it seems that Johnson is generally disillusioned by what the movie making process has become, especially as it relates to big blockbusters.

She told Bustle, “It’s so hard to get movies made, and in these big movies that get made — and it’s even starting to happen with the little ones, which is what’s really freaking me out — decisions are being made by committees, and art does not do well when it’s made by committee. Films are made by a filmmaker and a team of artists around them. You cannot make art based on numbers and algorithms. My feeling has been for a long time that audiences are extremely smart, and executives have started to believe that they’re not. Audiences will always be able to sniff out bullsh*t. Even if films start to be made with AI, humans aren’t going to fucking want to see those.

And once again, she’s not wrong. Madame Web is clearly a symptom of a greater issue not just plaguing recent superhero movies, but the industry at large. One only need to look as far back as last year’s The Flash to see how a clusterfuck of conflicting ideas and interests at Warner Bros. can tank a movie that just so happens to feature the return of Michael Keaton to the role of Batman.

Johnson has spoken out before about the “drastic changes” that the Madame Web script underwent between when she signed onto the film and when production started, and talks a little more about that with Bustle and how much of a “learning experience” it was.

“Sometimes in this industry, you sign on to something, and it’s one thing and then as you’re making it, it becomes a completely different thing, and you’re like, Wait, what?” she said. “Of course it’s not nice to be a part of something that’s ripped to shreds, but I can’t say that I don’t understand.”

Based on Johnson’s experience, you can’t really blame her for not wanting to make another superhero movie. Madame Web apparently had too many cooks in the kitchen, as many of these movies seem to nowadays. Movies, even superhero ones, deserve to be made by artists, not committees of executives that only care about numbers and working VFX artists to a pulp. If only studios could learn the same lessons from this experience that Johnson has.

Madame Web is in theaters now.

The post Dakota Johnson Addresses Madame Web Failure With Brutally Honest Words appeared first on Den of Geek.

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