Despite being one of the year’s best-reviewed movies, Robert Eggers’ The Northman still ended up falling flat at the box office, which is admittedly something a lot of insiders and analysts were expecting when R-rated content that isn’t tied to an existing IP continues to struggle throughout the pandemic era.
The enthralling Viking epic failed to recoup its production budget in theaters after topping out just shy of $65 million globally, but one huge positive is that the brutal and bloody story of revenge has been over-performing on VOD, which is just as well when The Northman only played exclusively on the big screen for three weeks before being made available on-demand.
It stings for Eggers, though, and while he did admit to The Daily Beast that he’s planning to “re-strategize” in the aftermath of his latest feature, he isn’t quite at the stage where he’ll be putting himself forward to tackle studio-backed comic book blockbusters.
“I need to re-strategize in terms of what I’m pitching to a studio. Like, how do I be me and survive in this environment? Because while they wouldn’t have me anyway, I wouldn’t want to direct a Marvel movie, and I’m also not going to try to get the rights to Spawn or something either. I’m going to keep doing what I’m going to do. But I know that everybody’s nervous right now, you know? Everybody’s nervous. And it’s justifiable.”
This isn’t the first time Eggers has deliberately distanced himself from franchise fare, but with The Northman having disappointed commercially and his Nosferatu remake struggling to escape development hell, his next career movie could be his most pivotal yet.