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The Crack Magazine


Why People Didn't Watch The Last Duel

Ridley Scott is seemingly frustrated at the poor box office of his latest historical epic The Last Duel. Well, why did people miss out on The Last Duel?

Let’s imagine a hypothetical situation where two women decide to go to the cinema and watch The Last Duel, let’s call them... Thelma & Louise.

Thelma lives in Walkergate, Louise lives in Denton. It’s winter so they don’t want to risk getting caught in the rain, Thelma decides to take her car. Louise gives Thelma £5 for petrol money.

They decide to watch The Last Duel after work, however since the film is over two-and-a-half hours long, there aren’t that many screenings. The best screening starts at 18:20 at Cineworld in The Gate, they could go to Odeon Silverlink, but that would mean driving through Newcastle at rush-hour, and you don’t want that on a night-out.

Thelma has a kid, so she has to arrange a babysitter. She lucks out and gets her teenage niece to look after her child for just £5 and a choc-ice from the fridge.

Parking at The Gate for about three hours costs £4.50, adult tickets at Cineworld in The Gate currently cost £9.99, two tickets make £19.98. It’s the evening, so Thelma & Louise probably haven’t ate anything, so they realistically have two options:

Option 1 - Buy food at the cinema, for their tea. Louise buys something like a large hot dog and a regular soft drink, which as of October’s prices would cost £9.50. Thelma gets a regular hot dog and a small soft drink, which would cost £8.20 - She doesn’t want to splash out too much, because she might have to buy her kid another school uniform.

Option 2 - I call this one ‘The Heaton Special.’ Quickly run to a newsagent, buy five chocolate bars and two 39p energy drinks between them. For city centre prices, let’s call it £5.80. They’ll eat and drink these during the movie. After the movie, which won’t end until after 21:00, they’ll go to a chip shop. £1.50 for a bag of chips, maybe they’ll get two bags of chips if they’re feeling particularly hungry.

Going with Option 1 would total £54.18, going with Option 2 would be around £40-£45, both options assuming that Thelma can haggle a cheap night of babysitting, and that there are already has choc-ices in the fridge. Yes, there are ways to lower this cost down, however for two normal people a trip to the cinema could cost £40, potentially going up to around £60.

Be realistic, would you pay £60 for the opportunity to watch a 6/10 film? The film has plenty of merits, Jodie Comer is fucking incredible and the script is pretty well written; who would’ve thought that Ben Affleck and Matt Damon knew so much about manipulating women?

It isn’t that The Last Duel isn’t a good film, it just isn’t good enough or special enough to warrant a night out. Thelma & Louise would probably watch No Time To Die, because that’s a special occasion, it’s not every month that a new James Bond movie comes out. Thelma & Louise would probably watch Spencer, because that film has gotten rave reviews and has a lot of positive buzz around it.

We’ve long-since been in a position where the cinema is not the only way of watching a film. We’ve got television, we’ve got physical media, we’ve got streaming, and so on. If a film is destined for a cinematic release, it can’t just be good, it has to be amazing. It has to compel single mother Thelma to leave the house. That’s why people didn’t see your film, Ridley.

The Last Duel is the most ‘Tuesday at 9 on Film4’ film ever made.

Keep in mind that while Thelma & Louise are watching the movie, they’re still being charged for Netflix, their TV licences, and any other entertainment services that normal people have. Since Thelma has a kid, there is a fair chance she has Disney+. The Last Duel is a 20th Century production, she could just watch it there... and then there is pirating the movie, but we won’t talk about that.

Spend your money on hot dogs and 39p energy drinks, or order a munchie box from a Chinese takeaway.

Watch a film in a cinema and get distracted by the bloke five seats away wearing a smart-watch on full brightness, or watch a film at home and get distracted by thoughts that your own son might be ripping up his school jumpers for fun.

Leave the house and pay £60, or stay at home for free and eat a choc-ice, which would you choose?

Kayven Kaplan