February 17, 2019

The Ongoing Catastrophe of Bryan Singer

“Over the past two decades, Bryan Singer’s films—The Usual Suspects, Valkyrie, Superman Returns, four of the X-Men movies—have earned more than $3 billion at the box office, putting him in the top tier of Hollywood directors. He’s known for taking risks in his storytelling: It was Singer’s idea, for instance, to open the original X-Men movie with a scene at Auschwitz, where a boy uses his superpowers to bend the metal gates that separate him from his parents. Studio executives were skeptical about starting a comic-book movie in a concentration camp, but the film became a blockbuster and launched a hugely profitable franchise for 20th Century Fox.

Singer’s most recent project debuted in November. Critics gave Bohemian Rhapsody—which chronicles the rise of the rock band Queen—only lukewarm reviews, but it earned more than $50 million in its opening weekend. By the end of December, it had brought in more than $700 million, making it one of the year’s biggest hits.

The film’s success should have been a triumph for Singer, proof of his enduring ability to intuit what audiences want. In January it won two Golden Globes, including the award for best drama. But Singer was conspicuously absent from the ceremony—and his name went unmentioned in the acceptance speeches. He had been fired by 20th Century Fox in December 2017, with less than three weeks of filming left. Reports emerged of a production in chaos: Singer was feuding with his cast and crew, and had disappeared from the set for days at a time.”

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