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Thursday, February 27, 2020

Here’s what led to the dismal performance of Men in Black International

Men in Black International has failed to impress the audience and the reasons for its failure can be traced back to the conception stage. From numerous rewrites to clashing visions, here's what happened to MIB International along its journey.

By: Entertainment Desk | New Delhi | Updated: June 19, 2019 3:28:30 pm
MIB International Men in Black: International, the Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth-led reboot, isn’t exactly the franchise-revitalizer it hoped to be. (Giles Keyte/Sony/Columbia Pictures via AP)

After the mediocre response to Men in Black: International, it is being suggested that the film went through a lot to get to the cinema halls. While this does not mean that it had to endure multiple reshoots like Dark Phoenix, International’s troubles began at the conception stage, as reported by Hollywood Reporter.

A recent report in the publication suggests that Sony Pictures’ top executives planned on a crossover between MIB and Jump Street universe. The crossover was a risk and eventually, the plan was abandoned after executives on the Jump Street side didn’t give their permission for the same and thus the plan for the reboot of MIB was set in motion in 2016.

Will Smith was already in talks with Sony for the next Bad Boys movie and getting the original stars of MIB for this revival was expensive and ‘not forward-looking’, as per THR’s source.

chris hemsworth Chris Hemsworth in a still from Men in Black International.

Sony’s casting choice of Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson was made to bring in a new fan base as the two had already a huge fan following due to their MCU stint. The film’s screenplay was quite impressive and it is said to be the reason that Sony landed the two stars. “You don’t attract Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson if the script isn’t good,” a source tells THR.

So, what went wrong?

Apparently, the clashing ideas of director F Gary Gray and producer Walter Parkes was the reason the film failed to deliver. Parkes was also a producer on the original film. Reportedly, Parkes had a huge role in the rewrites, pre-production and production. He even stepped to take over directing duties a few times. When Gray tried to exit the project, the studio convinced him to stay.

The report explains that the actors on set were given new pages every day. Thompson and Hemsworth even hired their own dialogue writers, which resulted in even more confusion.

The test screenings were held only for family and friends. Two cuts were tested, one by Gray and the other one by Parkes and ultimately it was Parkes’ cut that was greenlit. “The studio was an absentee landlord. They were nowhere to be found,” an insider told THR.

The previous three films of the franchise earned over $1.6 billion and Men in Black: International opened to just $30.1 million. The Rotten Tomatoes rating of the film is at 25 per cent. “The urgency to see this was never there, and the movie needed a greater reason to be,” a Sony executive said.

But this has not deterred the studio as the franchise is not buried yet. An anonymous Sony executive said, “Aliens walking among us is at its core a great idea. Men in Black will be revisited again at one point, either as a series, as streaming, or as another movie.”

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