Ben Affleck Explained Why ‘The Last Duel’ Failed Where ‘The Way Back’ Succeeded

Filmmaker Ridley Scott drew controversy after he blamed The Last Duel‘s box office disaster on millennials. Social media exploded in response to his comments and more traditional views on film distribution. Ben Affleck recently spoke up about why The Way Back succeeded where The Last Duel failed. Additionally, he defended Scott’s previous comments.

Ben Affleck defends Ridley Scott on ‘The Last Duel’ controversy

'The Last Duel' actor Ben Affleck talking with a microphone in front of him on the red carpet
Ben Affleck | Leon Bennett/WireImage

The Hollywood Reporter attended the red carpet premiere of The Tender Bar, which stars Affleck. He gave a long response to a couple of questions regarding the largely positive reception of his most recent performances in The Last Duel and The Way Back, as well as his take on Scott’s recent assertions.

Affleck asserted that Scott may be “slightly misquoted.” In response to Scott telling a journalist to “go f*** yourself,” Affleck said, “I mean, let’s be honest, who hasn’t wanted to say that in a press junket? Ridley is at the stage in his career where, obviously, he’s completely unencumbered by concerns about what people think.”

‘The Last Duel’ failed where ‘The Way Back’ succeeded

Affleck explained that The Last Duel plays well with audiences. He differentiated it from other movies that he starred in that weren’t very good. However, the actor recalled his conversations with other Hollywood insiders regarding the changing state of the industry.

The Last Duel actor said according to THR, “One of the fundamental ways it’s changing is that the people who want to see complicated, adult, non-IP dramas are the same people who are saying to themselves, ‘You know what? I don’t need to go out to a movie theater because I’d like to pause it, go to the bathroom, finish it tomorrow.'”

“It’s that, along with the fact that you can watch with good quality at home,” Affleck said. “It’s not like when I was a kid and the TV at home was an 11-inch black-and-white TV. I mean, you can get a 65-inch TV at Walmart for $130. There’s good quality out there and people are at home streaming in Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. It’s all changed.”

However, Affleck asserted that he knew the industry was changing before the pandemic even took place. He gained a new perspective.

“I knew it was changing before the pandemic hit with The Way Back,” Affleck said. “I remember feeling like, ‘S***, I really love this movie, and no one’s going to see it.’ I could just tell; it’s not going to land in the theaters. People don’t want to go see dramas.”

Affleck explained: “Then the pandemic hit, and ironically, one of the first few films that was rushed to streaming was The Way Back, and people did see it. I said, ‘You know what? This isn’t bad.’ I would rather have people see this and watch it, and I don’t need to be stuck to the old ways [of doing business].

Ben Affleck only saw ‘Licorice Pizza’ in theaters this year

Affleck used television as one of several examples of when the world said that the film medium and movie theaters were going to die off. He explained how more platforms likely mean that audiences are actually watching more content than they used to. However, Affleck said that some audiences are becoming pickier with what they pay to see in the theater, including himself.

“A lot of the time, and I’m even guilty of this myself, I can lament it,” Affleck said according to THR. “I went to see one movie theatrically. That movie was Licorice Pizza. There are probably two or three directors, people like Paul Thomas Anderson and Quentin Tarantino, who have people saying, ‘OK, I’m going to see two or three movies in the theater this year, I’ll go see theirs.’”

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