Michael Mann Blames Himself for ‘Blackhat’ Box Office Failure

Over eight years after the commercial failure of “Blackhat,” director Michael Mann is putting the blame where he feels it belongs: Michael Mann.

While promoting the upcoming Adam Driver vehicle “Ferrari” in an interview with Variety, the filmmaker briefly fell on his sword concerning the $70 million R-rated actioner. In January of 2015, it earned mixed-to-negative reviews and just $20 million at the global box office.

“It’s my responsibility,” Mann told the publication. “The script was not ready to shoot.” Like many of Mann’s pictures, “Blackhat” has gained a cult audience since its theatrical release, as well as a restructured director’s cut. While Mann blames himself, it also ran into the newfangled notion of audiences not wanting to see a big new movie star outside of his marquee character role.

Moviegoers didn’t care about Chris Hemsworth — talent and charisma notwithstanding — when he wasn’t playing Thor in the MCU. See also: “In the Heart of the Sea,” “The Huntsman: Winter’s War” and “Men in Black: International.” All of which were commercial disappointments or outright flops.

The film’s focus on diabolical hackers manipulating stock market options for soy and tin may have seemed a bit obtuse in early 2015. However, it has certainly aged well in an era of market-specific fears and both GameStock and AMC APE-style manipulations.

“The subject may have been ahead of the curve, because there were a number of people who thought this was all fantasy,” Mann said. “Wrong. Everything is stone-cold accurate.”

It’s just one seemingly fictional premise — think “The Purge: Election Year” or “The Dark Knight Rises” — that crept perilously close to becoming a documentary in recent years.

“Ferrari” will mark Mann’s first feature film since “Blackhat.” He has since shepherded HBO Max’s “Tokyo Vice” and co-wrote (with Meg Gardiner) a novel prequel/sequel to his 1995 crime epic “Heat.” Mann admits that he needs “Ferrari” to be a hit to get funding for whatever comes next — although he’d probably have an easier time getting “Heat 2” greenlit than another non-IP project.

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