As someone who’s starred both in movies that sold out theaters and box office flops, Vin Diesel’s opinion on the importance of box office performance comes from a place of experience. In a 2020 interview given while promoting “Bloodshot,” the action movie star was asked about how he copes when a project doesn’t pan out exactly how he hoped it would, such as with 2015’s “The Last Witch Hunter,” a film that financially flopped and was not appreciated by critics, either.
“I came to the realization that … so often we’re so consumed or we buy into kind of the studio objective of ‘box office, box office, box office,’” Diesel said. “And when a ‘Last Witch Hunter’ comes out and it doesn’t destroy the box office … under the old thinking, [you] would go ‘well maybe I should focus on something else.’ But nowadays, what’s fascinating is that movies find you somehow … The more experienced I get the more I am appreciating just fact that my work somehow finds you and that you get to experience it at your own time, at your own pace.”
In the context of “The Last Witch Hunter,” he said that even years after its release, people come up to him praising the movie and hoping for a sequel, which he claimed Lionsgate was pursuing at the time. He concluded that regardless of box office performance, “I’m solely interested in trying to make masterpieces.”
It’s difficult to disagree with Diesel on that front. If box office performance was the only factor determining the future of a franchise, then this year we wouldn’t be getting the long-awaited sequel to “Hocus Pocus” — a cult classic 1993 film that flopped at the time of its release but has built up a rabid fanbase over the years with new generations.