The Patriot Post

The student news site of Birmingham Community Charter High School

The student news site of Birmingham Community Charter High School

The Patriot Post

The student news site of Birmingham Community Charter High School

The Patriot Post


Ridley Scott’s Napoleon Slowly Gaining Steam With Audiences

Painting of Napoleon by Jacques-Louis David (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

The 2023 film Napoleon arrived in theaters on November 22 and will be streaming on Apple TV+ later next year. This historical drama was directed by Ridley Scott of Alien and Blade Runner fame. Napoleon dives into the story of the famous French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte who is played by Joaquin Phoenix. He is well known for his role as the Joker in Joker, released in 2019. Vanessa Kirby plays Joséphine, the emperor’s wife.

Scott’s latest movie garnered attention during its opening over Thanksgiving week, as it earned approximately $32.5 million domestically and $46.3 million internationally. The total amount that the movie has made is now (December 5) over $136 million.  Over the long weekend, it still fell behind The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes and finished second at the box office. However, the film hasn’t been a big hit in some parts of Asian markets. Yet it still miraculously beat out Disney’s Wish in both the box office and reviews. This is unique considering how well Disney’s Thanksgiving movies often perform in both categories.

Even though Napoleon beat out Disney’s recent film, it only did above average over its opening weekend. It is still mired in swampy grounds, considering both the reviews and box office receipts.

It has a mediocre score on Rotten Tomatoes, with a 59% critics score and a 58% audience score. Many people, including the French, have criticized the many historical inaccuracies in the film. Some have even called these inaccuracies damaging to both world history and French history. Historian Patrice Gueniffey has accused the film of being anti-French in an interview with LePoint magazine. Others have criticized Napoleon himself for his record of misogyny, imperialism, and racism while other historians have defended him, calling the emperor the icon of France.

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The movie still hasn’t made a profit earning over 45 million domestically and over 90 million internationally. That is more than half its budget, which is around $200 million. But Apple, who backed the film, has stated that it isn’t concerned with the profit margin–at least for now. Apple is hopeful that the film, out in theaters now and will be coming to their streaming service later, will create buzz over the winter holiday season and help the movie out.

One factor that could be an advantage for the movie is that it has no serious competition for at least two weeks within its demographic. The new Beyoncé and Godzilla movies are not directly competing with Napoleon. The reason is that the audience for those films is quite different from audiences that will see Napoleon. However,  the comedy Poor Things, featuring Emma Stone, could be some competition, if not at the box office, then at least during award season.

For me, the film was very mediocre. I thought Phoenix played Napoleon well enough and Scott’s direction was excellent. However, the film falls flat in the story department. Sadly, this film is quite lifeless and dull–even though seeing Napoleon as a tool was quite humorous.

Still, even if Napoleon falls behind in the box office and reviews, it could have a big comeback when it hits Apple’s streaming service. Being exclusive to Apple TV+ could help the Ridley Scott film even if the theatrical run doesn’t finish all that well.

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