Trying to determine the reaction to a movie can be a daunting task, as there are various review websites that depict divergent data, while box office numbers don't necessarily reflect a viewer's satisfaction with the film. The Last Jedi is a prime example of differing opinions, as the film made $1.4 billion worldwide, yet various websites display a large range of opinions from professional and amateur critics alike. Rian Johnson, the film's writer/director, claims that of all the people who reach out to him on social media, 90 percent of the comments he receives are positive experiences of the film.
"There were death threats. It's balanced by a few things — 90 percent of the stuff I got online was not only lovely and encouraging but phenomenally thoughtful," Johnson shared with the Standard. "Fans would send me essays on the movie. The other 10 percent is just loud and gets amplified. At first I was freaked out but then I realized the things people were angry about are the things I'm most proud about."
While one interpretation of this anecdote is that a majority of fans enjoyed the film, this only accounts for the people directly addressing him and his film. It's entirely possible that there are thousands more comments lambasting the film without the filmmaker being brought in on the conversation.
Regardless, Johnson's horrifying reveal that people threatened his life because of a film he made is more than enough reason to be concerned with the toxicity being displayed by any number of fans.
The filmmaker might not have been prepared to handle death threats, but he did know he was potentially going to challenge devout fans with the directions he took the narrative.
"I knew intellectually what I was letting myself in for, but then when it happens you're like, 'Oh my God, this is intense!'" Johnson admitted. "It's about knowing you're not going to please everyone. But then you still read someone saying they wish you were dead and it's going to ruin your day."
The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams is returning to helm Episode IX, which will allow Johnson to step back from the franchise before developing his own trilogy of films unrelated to the rest of the Skywalker Saga.
"I am just an audience member now so I'm looking forward to finding out what happens," Johnson noted of the franchise's future and Luke Skywalker's fate. "Look man, he's Luke Skywalker, so who knows!"
Fans, Rian Johnson included, will learn Luke's fate when Episode IX hits theaters on December 20, 2019.
The Last Jedi is available now on Digital HD and on Blu-ray.
Do you think audiences should raise their concerns with a director on social media or stick to interacting with other fans? Let us know in the comments below!
[H/T Evening Standard]