Ridley Scott Is Disappointed About The Last Duel's Box Office, But Suggests Time Will Be Kind To It

"The Last Duel" hits digital platforms later this month and is coming to physical home media in December, and there's a very good chance that most people reading this haven't seen it yet because it was a box office bomb.

The film earned strong critical notices, including a positive review from our own Marshall Shaffer. It had the added novelty, too, of offering a Matt Damon and Ben Affleck reunion, with mullets and bowl cuts and medieval garb thrown in for good measure. However, despite signs that theaters are bouncing back for some releases, that wasn't enough to lure audiences in for "The Last Duel."

Speaking to The New York Times (via Collider), director Ridley Scott addressed the commercial failure of "The Last Duel," saying:

"It was exceedingly disappointing. The fatal thing is when you think you've got it, you haven't — I thought I'd got it on 'Blade Runner' and I hadn't! I was crucified by a big critic at the time called Pauline Kael. It's why I never read critiques, ever. You have to be your own decider — if you worry about what the audience is thinking and what they may want, that's fatal. A good film will find itself, and now 'Blade Runner' is in the Library of Congress."

The Next Blade Runner or Kingdom of Heaven?

Scott has had his hits and misses, and sometimes the misses later became hits — as in the case of the aforementioned "Blade Runner," which almost shut down production and was not a success upon its release. It took years to find its foothold as a cult classic and then a classic. As Scott noted, "Blade Runner" is now in the Library of Congress, and even if it weren't, time has still vindicated it as one of the greatest science fiction films of all time.

The period setting of "The Last Duel" also brings to mind "Kingdom of Heaven," Scott's 2005 historical epic, which received mixed reviews in its theatrical cut but later found renewed life as a director's cut on home media. "The Last Duel" is likewise based on real historical events, but it has a very different structure in that it employs the "Rashomon" structure of telling its story by showing different perspectives on the same events.

Damon's character, Jean de Carrouges, challenges Adam Driver's character, Jacques Le Gris, to a duel to the death after Le Gris rapes his wife. Jodie Comer plays Marguerite de Carrouges, who is caught in the middle of their feud in a patriarchal society where she could wind up dead if her husband loses the duel.

If nothing else, "The Last Duel" provides a break from the usual run of IP-driven films that flood the market. Hopefully, it can find more of an audience on home media, and in the meantime, Scott has "House of Gucci" and maybe even "Gladiator 2" coming.

"The Last Duel" hits digital platforms on November 30, 2021, and Blu-ray and DVD on December 14, 2021.