Nolte: ‘Madame Web’ Looks Like Another ‘Feminist’ Box Office Flop

Madame Web
Screenshot/YouTube/Sony Pictures

Madame Web, the latest girlboss offering from Hollywood, is already looking like a $100 million flop.

One reviewer described it as “a low point in wannabe feminist superhero films.”

This co-production between Columbia Pictures and Marvel Entertainment (i.e., the Disney Grooming Syndicate) hits pretty much every theater in America on Wednesday, Valentine’s Day, and is already earning appalling reviews and the kind of box office projections that give studio executives bald spots.

Madame Web is part of the Spider-Man Cinematic Universe universe that has already delivered the stillborn Morbius (2022) and two Venom movies (2018, 2021) I’ve never seen.

As of this writing, with 47 reviews in, Madame Web is facing a Rotten Tomatoes massacre with a 19 percent rotten rating. Here are some of the highlights:

UPI:  “[B]ad in ways even debacles like Catwoman and Batman & Robin never broached.”

“Perhaps the only good thing to come out of Madame Web is that it is an unintentional comedy, because there is so much idiotic filmmaking on display, it’s laughable,” writes a reviewer who grades movies on cultural representation. “Other people who won’t find it so funny will be cringing at Madame Web, which is an embarrassment for everyone involved in making this brain-dead film.”

“It is the Cats: The Movie of superhero movies. Not a single decision seems of sound mind. Not a single performance feels in sync with the material,” writes far-left Rolling Stone. “The sole amazing factor of this Spider-spinoff is that someone, somewhere signed off on actually releasing it.”

“With an awful script and not a single ounce of charm among the star-studded cast, Madame Web feels like little more than a Spider-Man movie knockoff,” says Screen Rant.

Things are even more dire for Madame Web on the box office front. Over what’s being called the six-day Valentine’s Day weekend, the movie is projected to gross a pathetic $20 to $25 million.

How bad is that? A box office catastrophe called The Marvels opened to $46 million.

With promotion costs, Madame Web must have cost something between $125 million to $150 million. The box office math says that after the theaters take their cut, a movie has to double its costs to break even. From where I sit, that’s looking mighty unlikely.

Will Hollywood ever go back to making movies for normal people? Nobody wants to see a feminist superhero movie. Not even feminists. If just ten percent of Hillary Clinton voters went to see Madame Web, it would be a hit.

Hollywood has spent the last six years hoping its big and small-screen propaganda would rewire human nature. Hollywood was going to get us comfortable with gay sex, Bossypants female heroines, and smug lectures in place of universal themes. Well, it’s not working.

And why would anyone sit through a lump of dumb like Madame Web when you can watch The Magnificient Seven (1960), Beverly Hills Cop (1984), Double Indemnity (1944), or Dark Victory (1939) again? Our time is limited on this planet. Hey, I used to love The Next New Thing as much as anyone. But after six years of this shit,  you can count me out.

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I find myself reading less and less these days as all pop culture (books, movies, music) have degenerated into simplistic “content” that tries to beat you over the head with a message. That being said, I found … Borrowed Time to be refreshing and delightful with complex characters and a messy (re: authentic) world. Also, I have to commend you on your idea of what heaven looks like. Too many writers have a trite vision of heaven, but I found both versions of heaven that you came up with (Doreen’s version of heaven as a campground with the Arthurs and Mason version with Doreen and Hok’ee) to be true to those characters and sublime.  — Reader email.

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