Emma Roberts claims Madame Web movie flopped because of internet culture and memes

By Abby Amoakuh

Published Jul 8, 2024 at 12:25 PM

Reading time: 2 minutes

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Madame Web is infamously one of the most talked about movies of this year, but for all of the worst reasons really. The Sony Spider-Man Universe (SSU) production just about managed to break even at the box office and was slammed savagely by the audience and critics alike. On top of this, its female leads Dakota Johnson and Sydney Sweeney even acknowledged that they understood the backlash and didn’t accept their roles because of the script anyways. Nevertheless, Emma Roberts, who starred as the supporting character Mary Parker, argued that the movie flopped for another reason: the internet.

“The director, S.J. Clarkson, I think did an amazing job. She’s the reason I wanted to do that movie,” Roberts told Variety in a recent interview. Clarkson is a British television and film director known for working on Orange Is The New Black, Ugly Betty, Jessica Jones, The Defenders, and Anatomy of a Scandal.

“If it wasn’t for internet culture and everything being made into a joke, I think that the reception would’ve been different,” the American Horror Story actress hypothesised. “And that’s what bums me out about a lot of stuff, even stuff that I’ve done, is people just make such a joke out of everything now.”

The pitch is certainly interesting. Ahead of Madame Web’s release, there notably seemed to be a public consensus among netizens that it was going to be one of the the worst releases of 2024 based on a couple of snippets from the trailer. This could have potentially preconditioned the minds of some movie-goers.

However, to attribute the movie’s entire critical and commercial underperformance solely to this would certainly be a stretch. Critics cited bad editing, an atrocious script, a questionable structure and lethargic performances by the lead actors as reasons for their bad reviews.

And this doesn’t even cut into the underwhelming special effects and awkward costumes chosen to bring this blockbuster to life.

None noted that the online meme culture predicated or purported its fall, although the memes certainly didn’t help in redeeming this mess of a movie. Considering that Madame Web herself, Dakota Johnson, has also admitted that the movie was, well, bad, it seems like Roberts is quite isolated in her opinion.

“It was a real learning experience, and of course it’s not nice to be a part of something that’s ripped to shreds, but I can’t say that I don’t understand,” Johnson told Bustle.

Making a superhero movie isn’t an easy task. Audiences are protective of the characters and storylines they have come to love from comics, while critics are eager to tear everything down that is a lacklustre attempt at a new franchise to milk, rather than a qualitative addition to the ever-spending sphere of superhero movies.

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