Monday, June 17, 2024

Jupiter Ascending is Falling: Will a $175 Mil Flop Hurt Eddie Redmayne’s Oscar Shot?


What a mess: Warner Bros., in what will be recalled as a very imprudent move, showed the Wachowski siblings’ “Jupiter Ascending” at Sundance. “Jupiter” cost $175 million, the anti-thesis of independent film. You can only imagine what the people in the Egyptian Theater in Park City thought as this spectacular 3D flop unspooled in front of them: it represented the cost of 100 indie movies.

Now the word has leaked, or rather, exploded, that everyone at Sundance hated “Jupiter Ascending,” which opens February 6th. That’s right in the middle of Oscar voting. And guess who’s one of the three co-stars? Eddie Redmayne, front runner in the Oscar race for Best Actor from “The Theory of Everything.”

By all account, “Jupiter Ascending”– like “Cloud Atlas” and the third “Matrix” movie– is undecipherable. No one understands it, and it’s full of kitschy, overblown performances. That’s certainly what Eddie, Channing Tatum, and Mila Kunis seem to be doing in the trailer.

For Redmayne, this could be an issue. Best Actor is a tight race with him and Michael Keaton deadlocked in the lead. Benedict Cumberbatch is right behind them, and Bradley Cooper could be a spoiler. Oscar voters may get a look at the reviews and reactions for “Jupiter” and wonder if Redmayne is the real thing.

I must say, he is. All the actors in the lead race this year are quite good. It would be terrible if Oscar voters ascribed the horrendousness of “Jupiter Ascending” to Redmayne alone. He simply got caught up in the Wachowski machine. If “Jupiter” is really as bad as described, it should only take down the siblings, not their actors.

What an odd situation. Twitter is full of screeds about that screening. Plus, evidently they didn’t invite press to the screening– you can’t come into a film festival in a closed location like Sundance and insult the media. What is the purpose of that? Consequently, they’ve all turned on the film. Yikes.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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