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“I Blame Myself”: Jack Reacher Movie Director Opens Up About Tom Cruise Box Office Flop

Summary Director Edward Zwick takes responsibility for the failure of Jack Reacher: Never Go Back , saying he misjudged what audiences wanted from the story and character.
Zwick says he would return for Jack Reacher 3 if Tom Cruise was interested.
The sequel was a critical and box office disappointment, grossing only $162.1 million worldwide and earning criticism for its by-the-numbers plot and unexciting action.
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back director Edward Zwick addresses the movie’s lackluster box office performance. Based on the bestselling books by Lee Child, the first Jack Reacher movie was released in 2012, introducing Tom Cruise as the titular former Military Police Officer in an outing that earned somewhat lukewarm reviews from critics but proved to be a draw for audiences. Zwick took over from director Christopher McQuarrie for the 2016 sequel, which follows the character as he attempts to prove the innocence of his former Army major. The film failed to perform, essentially killing the movie franchise.
In his new book, Hits, Flops, and Other Illusions: My Fortysomething Years in Hollywood, Zwick opens up about the failure of Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. The director takes full responsibility for the movie not working, citing a desire to put his own spin on the story that ultimately didn’t end up working for audiences. Check out an excerpt from his book (via Variety) below:
‘Jack Reacher: Never Go Back,’ which Tom Cruise and I made in 2016, fizzled at the box office. I blame myself (and my willing accomplice, Don Granger) for thinking the audience might enjoy a mash-up of ‘Jack Reacher’ and ‘Paper Moon,’ when in fact they just wanted more red meat. I had a wonderful time working with Cobie Smulders, and I certainly don’t blame Tom for not being six two — as the novelist Lee Child described his protagonist — and should Tom happen to call about making a third movie together, I’ll definitely pick up.
Jack Reacher 2’s Box Office Explained
Why The Tom Cruise Sequel Wasn’t A Hit
Made on an estimated budget of $60 million, the first Jack Reacher movie ended up making $218.3 million at the box office. Although critics weren’t all on board with the film, there was clearly something to the McQuarrie and Cruise collaboration that worked for audiences. The sequel is estimated to feature more or less the same $60 million budget, but only grossed $162.1 million worldwide. While this doesn’t make the film a financial disaster, it’s a significant step down from the first movie.
Cruise and McQuarrie have gone on to enjoy a fruitful collaboration on the Mission: Impossible franchise, with McQuarrie helming every installment since Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (in addition to doing script work on Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol .
While Cruise’s charismatic performance, some slick action sequences, and McQuarrie’s assured directing elevated the first Jack Reacher above more standard action movie fare, the sequel didn’t have the same winning combination of ingredients. Jack Reacher: Never Go Back was criticized for being predictable, and the action didn’t have the same energy as the original. As seen in the chart below, the movie, at least by Rotten Tomatoes’ metrics, failed to resonate with both audiences and critics:
Title Rotten Tomatoes Critics’ Score Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score Jack Reacher (2012) 63% 67% Jack Reacher: Never Go Back 38% 42%
If the reviews had been bad but the box office strong, it’s possible that Jack Reacher 3 could have happened. Instead, Child’s source material made the jump to the small screen in the form of Prime Video’s well-reviewed Reacher series, which sees Alan Ritchson replace Cruise as the title character. Although Zwick may be open to another installment after Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, it’s not looking likely that one will ever come to fruition.
Source: Hits, Flops, and Other Illusions: My Fortysomething Years in Hollywood by Edward Zwick (via Variety)



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