Credit: Alan Markfield

Despite some positive reviews (though critics appeared split on the film overall), American Ultra opened to a lower-than-expected weekend at the box office. The disappointing return was apparent enough from the first day that the film’s screenwriter, Max Landis, aired his worries about whether there’s room for original ideas in theaters anymore, and whether it’s a viable path for screenwriters to take in the industry.

Landis, who wrote the screenplay for Ultra as well as this year’s upcoming Victor Frankenstein, wondered why Ultra which, regardless of its marketing, reviews, and stars, “lost [at the box office] to a sequel, a sequel reboot, a biopic, a sequel, and a reboot” after Friday’s box office results. The other weekend’s major releases, Sinister 2 and Hitman: Agent 47, both reviewed lower than American Ultra on RottenTomatoes but opened higher at the box office.

“Is trying to make original movies in a big way just not a valid career path anymore for anyone but Tarantino and Nolan?” Landis asked, saying he was “confused” by what the box office results taught him about what can and cannot succeed in the modern movie age.

Read Landis’ full thoughts below.

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American Ultra
  • Movie
  • 95 minutes