Gods of Egypt hit theaters this weekend, and it hit with a thud. While Deadpool continues to rake in cash and push the expectations of comic book-adapted R-rated films, Gods of Egypt didn’t even make it to $20 million (on a $140 million budget and who knows how much marketing). It’s rated at 12 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and 24 out of 100 on MetaCritic. Director Alex Proyas, also known for Dark City, is decidedly not happy about this. But not for the reason you might think.
In a pair of rambling posts to his official Facebook page, Proyas called critics a “pack of diseased vultures pecking at the bones of a dying carcass.” I’m not sure if he realizes that makes it sound like his new movie is a dying carcass. Or maybe he’s saying cinema is dying, which isn’t a great thing for a director to say, either. He suggested critics were “deranged idiots” for bringing up some of the film’s questionable casting choices, as well.
The director criticized what he sees as groupthink among critics. He said it wasn’t the negative reviews, but the uniformity of the reviews. He wanted critics to “stick to their guns” and voice their “true opinion,” which he seemed to feel would be more varied.
“The first professional reviews of a movie,” he said, “can poison the well so that people are afraid to drink from it. I have seen that happen to many of my friends’ films recently and particularly to many original fantasy movies released in the past few years. So studios will probably stop making big budget original fantasy movies altogether.”
Many of those other movies he alludes to have been generally considered stinkers, as well, with both critical consensus and box office proceeds bearing that out. Proyas makes reference to the late Roger Ebert, citing the critic’s experience attempting to make a film as giving him unique insight into the process of making movies that somehow made his critique more valid, something creators often seem to bring up in rants like these, forgetting that critics are writing for movie-going audiences, most of which don’t have any experience making movies, either.