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‘The Mummy’ Director Isn’t Making Movies for Critics

In an interview with Business Insider, The Mummy director Alex Kurtzman was asked about the critical reception of the film, which went as far as to call it ” the worst Tom Cruise movie ever .”

“Obviously, that’s disappointing to hear,” he explained. “The only gauge that I really use to judge it is having just traveled around the world and hearing the audiences in the theaters. This is a movie that I think is made for audiences and in my experience, critics and audiences don’t always sing the same song.”

True. Hollywood blockbusters aren’t for critics because it’s a business, which is why originality dies at the cinema. Kurtzman doubles down:

“I’m not making movies for them,” he said of critics.

“Would I love them to love it? Of course, everybody would, but that’s not really the endgame. We made a film for audiences and not critics so my great hope is they will find it and they will appreciate it.

“It is the thing that kills your soul when you have just gone through an experience like this one we just went through,” Kurtzman added of the critics devouring the film. In fact, hit-pieces have started to be aimed at Cruise, who allegedly had “excessive control” over the entire production.

While The Mummy is a dud here in the States, it’s doing quite well internationally. It’s hard to know what’s to blame for the film coming unwrapped domestically but one thing is for certain, The Mummy wasn’t exactly pushing the envelope by any means and was absolutely targeting general audiences by being a dumbed down popcorn muncher.

And that’s the biggest debate that will never end; who are the studios making these movies for? Obviously “art” is compromised when targeting the majority of audiences, which cause films to become watered down for the masses (hence why “R”-rated films scare the majority of studio executives). On the juxtapose, don’t look to independent films to save your cinema-going experience. I find that many independent films are just as bad at knowing their audience. In fact, at times they’re even worse. Why? Because the majority of indie films aren’t mad for anyone but the filmmakers behind the camera.

The point is, there’s no winning this battle. Sure, Kurtzman isn’t making movies for critics but he should be cognisant of criticism because that’s one way to learn from your mistakes. Films should be personal as much as they should be for an audience. Land somewhere in the middle and a filmmaker can at least look themselves in the mirror at night…

(L to R) Director/Producer ALEX KURTZMAN and TOM CRUISE as Nick Morton on the set of “The Mummy”.


70 Comments
  • Golic

    He’s not making movies for intelligent movie goers ether.

  • Pramit Chatterjee

    That’s what everybody says after their movie flops and then switches sides as soon as one movie gets a “fresh” rating.

    • DarkBree

      Exactly.

  • buroot

    Its definitely not for fans of universal monsters.

  • Necro

    Maybe this would be true if HE directed it instead of Tom Cruise.

    • MODOK

      Sure, Cruise is a big star who’ll always get a say in his movies, but I suspect he played such a large role in The Mummy’s production because Kurtzman was lost.

      The guy had exactly one directing credit to his name before this, and it was a tiny indie drama no one saw. Putting him in charge of the Dark Universe’s franchise-starter was not a good idea. I can see why a screen veteran like Cruise might need to exert more control out of necessity and not necessarily ego.

      • Necro

        Good point!

  • sliceanddice

    Remember when Crowe said this film would scare the shit out of you??
    HA!

    • Grimphantom

      Well he was right, scare the shit of not really going to watch it lol

  • Ocelot006 .

    Hey I liked it. That’s all that matters to me.

  • MM

    If he didn’t make it for critics, and he (obviously) didn’t make it for horror fans who appreciate and loved the original, chilling Universal monster movies of the 30s-50s, I must ask: for whom did he make this movie? Fans of shallow action films, maybe…

    • Ocelot006 .

      He made it for the Chinamen.

  • dukeblues

    He may not be making it for critics, but he sure as hell isn’t making it for horror fans. His goal was money, plain and simple. His goal was teenage boys and twenty somethings. The fact is good movies like Jaws, the original universal horror movies, and the Godfather would probably not do well in today’s “action packed” environment. That is why movies today are shit

  • ScriptGiverrrr

    He’s not even making movies. Tom Cruise directed this.

  • horrormaker

    To me there are certain actors for the right roles and other ones that do the role, but it’s not for them. i feel that Tom Cruise wasn’t the right person for this movie. My reaction was just like Godzilla 98, when i found out Matthew Broadrick was in it. No, no, no, wrong person. I have a hard time with Tom, to me his is almost the same person in every film, does he channel his character? or just do the role?

    • J Jett

      horrormaker, i agree 100%. i actually love several Cruise movies (OBLIVION, EDGE OF TOMORROW, JACK REACHER, etc.) but (i admit i haven’t seen the film) his being cast in this role was a huge misfire. Cruise’s celebrity/over-exposure(?) is not an issue IMO in films like JACK REACHER or even KNIGHT & DAY (another film of his i love) but THE MUMMY should not have been “The Tom Cruise Show”. it should have been focused more on the titular creature (or the film should have at least not been over-shadowed by Cruise), the atmosphere/creepiness/horror. the film should have set the vibe/tone for the world Universal is trying to jump start rather than have it be about Cruise/his character.

  • The Drucifer

    He isn’t making movies for anyone. Sick burn, me.

  • zombie84_41

    I’m part of the audience, and your movie just flat out sucks. It’s cliche, and maybe if your editing team didn’t show us the whole fucking movie during the trailers, maybe just maybe it would have been slightly better. But it felt rushed, it felt like a mess, it was all over the place. The mummy girl tried to be cool but it just didn’t work. The movie felt really short, for a movie that was an hour and 45 mins was actually only 1hr and 35mins the rest was all credits which is joke. I think if he comes back to direct the film get better writers. Work on the characters more as well. For a movie thats suppose to kick start something I been wanting for many many years, and for something I been dying to happen. Just isn’t flowing and working out at all. This should have been a huge hit and should have been amazing. But was boring, and very dull. Also on a side not Alex really isn’t a bad dude he knows how to write some people great stuff just is directing isn’t really good at all. But hey not everybody is meant to be good at things.

    • Necro

      Well said

      • zombie84_41

        ya like i wouldnt be so upset but the movie sucks i kno people are prob piss cus i comment on every mummy post. But it was just terrible

        • Necro

          Fuck ’em that’s your opinion! I can see if we’re discussing/disputing actual facts. Although sometimes facts are relevant to certain things on here, most of the time they’re not. I think some people get the difference between opinion and facts twisted and reversed. I know it’s sad when you actually have to say those words “it’s my opinion” to a disrespectful asshole who think they own and control the forum! There’s a few screen names I could drop but I won’t. Anyway even though in this particular instance I agree with you, even if I didn’t I still would’ve told you that it was well said.

          • zombie84_41

            Lol. I hear ya. Thanx. But this movie just honestly makes me very mad. And I sort of hate how people are thrashing 47 meters down, honestly that movie is freaking amazing, it’s actually scary, tense, and insane. The writing is cardboard and paper thin but the shark scenes make the movie. Plus that ending is awesome.

          • Necro

            Hell yeah! I f**king love ’47 Meters Down’! I can’t remember the last time a film had my eyes glued to the screen like that did! Very, very tense and scary!

          • zombie84_41

            ya it was way better then the shallows and that was great too. Hope they make more shark movie now

  • Nick S.

    (Please read this in full) Miska’s piece would’ve been spot on if it
    hadn’t been for his claim that ‘indie’ films are more-often made only
    for the filmmakers. No. Wrong.

    Indie films, especially bad indie
    films, are still made for an audience. It’s just a smaller, niche
    audience. You would think the curator of a niche website would realize
    that he is part of the same publicity, hype machine that informs
    audiences about what they want.

    I am not necessarily saying it is a bad thing, as that is the purpose of a website such as this.

    However,
    if you view films as a true art form, and understand that as an artist
    that all of people aren’t very different in terms of what kinds of
    things affect their emotions.However, as my rant below demonstrates, it
    also comes down to what things they understand and what things they
    agree with that don’t upset them.

    Thus, the best films are ‘personal’ films, because they come from the heart. They take the
    screenwriter/filmmaker through an emotional journey in their mind, thus
    they have a much greater chance of doing that to the audience.
    ————————————————
    With that said, I must say that I typically hate mainstream movies nowadays. I
    do think there is plenty of good stuff but it’s either foreign, independent, or older. However, as much as it pains me to say, One could argue that the industry has finally connected to its audience better than ever before. There are a few reasons for this though…. First,
    while our country is more educated than before, in terms of high
    school/college graduates, one could argue the mainstream audience is
    just as uneducated as before (and Hollywood found what they like.)

    Now when I say ‘uneducated’ this time, I don’t mean uneducated, but I do mean not
    educated in a literary/film theory sense. If you think about it, a science or
    math degree does not make you a good English student. Which is probably
    why I know some highly smart and educated people that like Adam Sandler
    movies or some shit.

    Another reason…. is Mainstream films are less hot-button issue art than ever before. Let’s face it… Hollywood is pretty liberal… but nearly 1/2 of our country is conservative. Thus someone who would vote for Trump as opposed to Sanders or Hillary doesn’t have the same values and principles and beliefs as the other outlooks on the world. And not many people– once they reach a certain age, at least– want to see an opposing belief forced down their throat, especially in a movie.

    So, ya, that’s basically why Hollywood now makes dumbed-down product that has nothing to say now. Perhaps for better, even if people like me thinks it’s for far worse.

    • Hash-Slinging Slasher

      You must be new here.

      • The Schwab

        What do you mean?

  • Christopher Nickerson

    Obviously it isn’t for horror movies fans either

  • Bart Crowe

    The Red Letter Media review was brutal and brought up that the movie was most likely made for a foreign audience.

    • NixEclips

      That’s the most interesting take on *why* it’s a bad film and they nail it.

    • HalesTales

      Half In The Bag’s review was about the same. Good stuff.

      • dduuurrrr dddduuuurrrr

        Red letter media and Half in the bag are the same people

        • HalesTales

          Oops, lol. It was the first review I’d seen of theirs because a friend sent it to me. Thanks for the info!

  • Vader the White

    Yeah, considering how domestic audiences are avoiding it in droves and agrees with the critics, I don’t think you’ve succeeded. It just sounds like you are being egotistical and defensive.

    • Necro

      Sounds just like someone who was around Tom Cruise for an extended period of time.

  • Sykes

    Not made for critics…I guess there’s not much else you can say when it bombs that hard with them, but it’s a pretty lame response. You can’t fire me, because I QUIT!

    Kurtzman just isn’t a very good filmmaker. Be it directing or writing.

  • Frank Bautista

    Considering this guy is the one that co-wrote Skids, Mudflap and robot testicles in Transformers 2 and “Itsy-Bitsy Spider” dubstep at the electrical power station in Amazing Spider-Man 2, I don’t doubt that this movie wasn’t made for critics. Hell, I doubt his movies are written for anybody that doesn’t get amused by having keys jingled in front of them.

    • Grimphantom

      He got used to work with crap like Bay’s movies it really got stuck with him…..

  • Grimphantom

    “This is a movie that I think is made for audiences and in my experience, critics and audiences don’t always sing the same song.”

    Is he pulling a Paul Feig and George Lucas on us? If that was the case who where those “audience” because clearly he didn’t do it for me or for many of us Horror fans. We knew how this movie would end up and if he WAS actually doing it for the audience he should know what we like to see and it’s a horror movie with scares, blood and creepy atmosphere…..not some action adventure crap with some comedy….

    The same thing happen with Paul Feig, the freaking moron made a movie with comedy and toilet humor…….The original GB had comedy but there some scenes that were just too real like that scene with Ray and Wiston talking about Judgement Day and what the remake had? Freaking Chris Hemsworth dancing with the cops and the army that looks like a lame knockoff of The Mask…..

    Same with this movie since it borrows heavily with the 1999 version instead of making it something on it’s own, make it creepy but no they went for cheesy action with a very annoying and tiring actor that’s Tom Cruise.

    • J Jett

      i have to admit, i freaking LOVE Feig & Melissa McCarthy’s SPY but yeah, GHOSTBUSTERS was an abomination (which is a shame IMO because the cast was really good!). Hemsworth’s character was one of the worst things i’ve ever seen ever. LOL.

  • Creepshow

    Pretty sure every director in history has said these same words. This is film-making’s equivalent to sports cliches.

    “I don’t play for stats, numbers, or money. I play for the fans.”

  • J Jett

    not having seen this movie, is it that Kurtzman’s (or Cruise’s) directing that was bad/off or was it the script? i just looked it up and see that there’s 6 people credited for this film (including Jon Spaihts who co-wrote PROMETHEUS…..cough…..).

    • HalesTales

      I think it’s a little of both, but the script was just blech. I know one shouldn’t compare this to the ’99 Mummy necessarily, but I do as they are both action-adventure takes on a mummy story. ’99 Mummy was very fun and good humored while this didn’t have much of the fun at all. Not that this was going for the same angle, per se, but I think it worked better. Also, this script was chock full of spoon-fed exposition; for the international audiences.

  • John Connor

    The movie was enjoyable.
    Wasn’t the greatest I’ve seen this year but it was better than most.
    You retards and your bandwagon hate.

    • Vader the White

      Yes, because we totally just want to hate every film.

  • Mark Lepine

    I love when people say that the movie has bombed. But it hasn’t world wide the film is doing just fine. When with Americans realize that they don’t make or break a film any more. Films are now made for an international audience and that means that North American audiences might feel that the film has been dumbed down but that is the way the world of filmmaking is now. We all need to get used to it with larger scaled films.

    • Vader the White

      Films like The Force Awakens had nearly half of its worldwide box office in the US. The Mummy is bombing.

      • It’s already at 300 millions in just 2 weeks, it could make a run at 450-500mm which is pretty good.

      • Also comparing movies like The Force Awakens and The Mummy it’s kind of absurd

        • Vader the White

          It’s an example of how the domestic box office is still important.

          • Yeah but what about a movie like “the fate of the furious” or “pirates of the caribbean”? chips in the US but big Business overseas. It’s obvious that an “event” movie like Force Awakens makes lots of money domestic and overseas. But still i consider them to be on different levels.

          • Vader the White

            What about Terminator: Genisys? Its box office performance was not far off from what we see with The Mummy. And 500m might not be considered profitable once you factor in the advertising budget and studio projections. It might not cripple Universal, but it could easy stop the Dark Universe.

          • Uni is gonna be fine as usual. Anyway i see your point of view but then what about MadMax Fury Road (150 budget/378 total) or Snowwhite and the Huntsman (170 budget/396 total) the latter had a sequel without being really succesful. The only real problem it’s not about money but reception. They could easily go on with DU but nobody is excited.
            What i’ve been trying to say in all these days, under all of the post about the mummy, is that this is an IP disaster non an hard box office failure.

    • Wes Draven

      It isn’t doing very well right now though. The overseas receipts are much smaller than the ones in the States, and many of the markets that The Mummy has shined in (like China) only offer 25% of the profits to the studios. There’s a lot of factors to consider, but right now, most signs lead to The Mummy not earning a profit.

  • I liked this movie pretty much, horror or not, it was just plain simple dumb fun.
    I wasn’t expecting this to be a masterpiece (from your comments looks like you were expecting the new Gone with the wind) and i was satisfied.
    Heck! At least they spent 125mm for a “horror”movie. I had a good time at the multiplex and i’m fine with that.

    P.s. BD Guys pls stop trashing movies that you don’t like (or that are underperformers, see alien:covenant or TWD) using gossip, clickbait articles and horrid box office trivia. It’s like dragging a dead animal.

    • Jesse Sikora

      ” was just plain simple dumb fun. ” And that’s the problem right there. It’s supposed to be the start of them rebooting The Universal Monster movies, the very thing that made Universal. These are classic horror films. They shouldn’t be thought of as ” was just plain simple dumb fun. ” They’re more important and deserve better than that.

      • Master99

        Did you ever watched the original universal monsters movies? They were not very scary (the wolfman had its moments) they were all just dumb fun. The mummy 2017 was an enjoyable film, and I look forward to seeing the creaure, the wolfman and dracula brought into the mix.

      • Look, let’s be honest ok?
        1) Nobody beside us would watch a super gritty Dark Universe, Uni monster are famous, yes, but because of their iconography in the pop culture. Not because of the movies.
        2) Universal is trying to make a lot of money so it’s understandable that they are using four quadrant movies (pg-13, aimed at the masses) because in today cinematic environment it’s what makes the money.
        3)this is the most questionable point on my list, but as i said before, since nobody is gonna spend 125mm in a R rated horror anymore, this is the the closest we’ll get and i’m partially happy with that.

        I keep on defending this movie not because it’s a masterpiece (it’s not) but because it’s being trashed and dragged around without any real motive, if not becuase it’s underperforming in the US.
        I can understand the anger of some fans (the mummy always been my favourite Uni monster) but we are forced so much to terrible movies all year round that honestly this one didn’t hurt/bother me that much.
        Fx, photography and production levels are good, and Cruise is not as unbearable as many critics/moviegoers wanted you to think.

  • Judge Satchmo

    “I didn’t make this movie for critics, I made if for Tom Cruise, and he f$&king loves it.”

  • guest

    i still dont get how universal thought it was a good idea to put kurtzman in charge of their dark monster universe.

    • MODOK

      I don’t him being in charge of it in the Kevin Feige role behind the scenes, but letting him write and direct the first and most important movie was a big misstep.

    • Matty Ice 2016

      They did not put him in charge….Cruise was the genius behind the rubbish…

  • Josh Evans

    Fixed: “I didn’t make this movie for critics, I made it to make money off of those easily parted with their money.”

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