Damien Chazelle’s intergalactic thriller First Man hits theaters on Thursday. Its box office success may depend on how well viewers receive the movie’s globalist theme.
The film, a biographical depiction of the Neil Armstrong-led historic space mission to the moon, will launch in 3,600 theaters nationwide and is expected to take in upwards of $20 million.
Yet the success of First Man may depend on whether viewers are willing to embrace its internationalist theme. Last month, it emerged that Chazelle had apparently omitted any references to the mission as an American achievement as well as any presence of the American flag being planting on the moon — a decision the directed said was not a political statement.
“To address the question of whether this was a political statement, the answer is no,” Chazelle said in a statement last month. “I wanted the primary focus in that scene to be on Neil’s solitary moments on the moon.”
Ryan Gosling, who plays the role of Armstrong, also argued the mission was more of a “human achievement.”
“I think this was widely regarded in the end as a human achievement [and] that’s how we chose to view it,” Gosling told The Daily Telegraph.
However, many political figures expressed anger at Chazelle’s decision, with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) describing the decision as “total lunacy.”
The film also drew criticism from President Donald Trump, who said he would not want to watch the movie.
“I wouldn’t even want to watch the movie,” Trump said in an interview with The Daily Caller. “When you think of Neil Armstrong and when you think of the landing on the moon, you think about the American flag.”
Buzz Aldrin, who was part of Armstrong’s mission to the moon, also appeared to signal his disapproval, writing on Twitter that he was “proud to be an American.”
— Buzz Aldrin (@TheRealBuzz) September 3, 2018
First Man will also face fierce competition from Marvel’s alien-superhero film Venom, which smashed expectations last week with an $80 million gross in its first week.