King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

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King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
King Arthur wears a leather jacket in front of a grey sky and faces the viewer, his sword held by both hands downward in front of his chest.
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Guy Ritchie
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story by
Starring
Music by Daniel Pemberton
Cinematography John Mathieson
Edited by James Herbert
Production
companies
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures[1]
Release date
  • May 8, 2017 (2017-05-08) (TCL Chinese Theatre)
  • May 12, 2017 (2017-05-12) (United States)
  • May 19, 2017 (2017-05-19) (United Kingdom)
Running time
126 minutes[2]
Country
  • United States[3]
  • Australia[3]
  • United Kingdom[3]
Language English
Budget $175 million[4]
Box office $94.5 million[5]

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is a 2017 fantasy epic film directed by Guy Ritchie and written by Ritchie, Joby Harold and Lionel Wigram. Loosely based on Arthurian legends, the film stars Charlie Hunnam as the title character, with Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey, Djimon Hounsou, Aidan Gillen, Jude Law and Eric Bana in supporting roles.[6]

King Arthur premiered at the Grauman's Chinese Theatre on May 8, 2017, and was theatrically released on May 12, 2017 in the United States and May 19, 2017 in the United Kingdom, in 2D and RealD 3D.[7] The film received generally negative reviews from critics and was a box office bomb, grossing $15.4 million in its U.S. opening weekend; it is projected to lose at least $150 million.[8][9]

Plot[edit]

Mordred, an iron fisted warlock, and his armies lay siege to Camelot, seeking to establish the dominance of magic-wielding mages over humankind. Uther Pendragon, king of the Britons, infiltrates Mordred's lair and beheads him, destroying his forces and saving Camelot. Later that evening, Uther's treacherous brother Vortigern, who covets the throne, orchestrates a coup and sacrifices his wife Elsa to sea witches in order to summon a demon knight, who kills Uther's wife and slays him in combat. The only survivor is Uther's son, who drifts away in a boat and eventually winds up in Londinium, where he is found and raised by prostitutes, who name him Arthur.

Arthur grows into a skilled fighter and man of the streets, alongside his friends Tristan and Backlack. The three confront a group of Vikings headed by Kjartan, who had mistreated one of the prostitutes, forcing them to pay her a year's wages for their behavior. Afterwards, the brothel is raided by the Blacklegs, Vortigern's minions, and Arthur learns that the Vikings were guests of the king and attacking them, therefore, constitutes a crime against him personally. Arthur tries to escape the city, but is caught and put on a ship with hundreds of other men. He learns that a mysterious, magic sword has appeared near Vortigern's castle, and the Blacklegs have been forcing all men of Arthur's age to try and pull it from the surrounding stone. When Arthur tries, he pulls the sword out and quickly faints from the vast power it contains. Vortigern meets with him in the dungeon, revealing his true lineage. Meanwhile, a woman, identifying herself as an acolyte of Merlin, meets with Uther's former general, Sir Bedivere.

At Arthur's execution, the mage uses her magic to stage a diversion while Percival and Rubio, two of Bedivere's men, rescue Arthur. Taken to his hideout, Arthur initially refuses to help them, but soon collapses again when he tries to wield the sword. Suspecting that he lacks the willpower to control it, the mage persuades Bedivere to take Arthur to the "Blacklands", the realm where, years earlier, Merlin destroyed Mordred's tower in defiance of his darkness. It is revealed that Vortigern was responsible for persuading Mordred to rebel against humanity, having grown jealous of Uther's power. Arthur, having restored the sword's magic, returns determined to destroy Vortigen for his crimes.

Together with his friends and Bedivere's men, Arthur stages a series of ambushes and attacks to force Vortigern out of hiding. Aware that his maid is a spy for Bedivere, Vortigen announces plans to meet with his barons in Londonium, sending a body double in his place. The rebels quickly realize the deception, but attack anyway which was all part of his plan. In the process, Rubio is captured while Backlack is severely wounded and left behind. The others take refuge in a fighters' school, run by Arthur's mentor George, where they are quickly overrun by the Blacklegs. Seeing the mage being held at knifepoint, Arthur is overcome by his rage and unleashes Excalibur's potential, single-handly killing all of the enemy soldiers. As night falls and riots break out all over Londonium, the rebels take shelter in a safe house, where they are soon joined by Backlack and his son Blue.

Knowing that he is mortally wounded, Backlack urges the others to go on and promises that he will be coming after them soon. Unbeknownst to them, the Blacklegs' commander, Mischief John, has been following the wounded Backlack, and he and Vortigern interrogate him for information. Blue sneaks back and, when caught, tries to bluff them that he is simply a worker coming to do his shift. But he can't maintain the masquerade when his father is threatened. Arthur comes back and manages to save Blue, but not before Blue watches his father die.

Afterwards, Arthur, ashamed of his failures, throws the sword into a lake and runs into the forest. When he stops at a small marsh, the Lady of the Lake pulls him into her realm and shows him a vision of the future, where England has been ruined by Vortigern's rule and the people are left to suffer in misery. Recognizing that only he can put an end to his uncle's reign, Arthur reunites with Bedivere, George, and Percival. When they return to the rebel hideout, however, they discover all of their allies dead, Vortigern having found them thanks to information provided by Rubio. They encounter the captain, who delivers a message from the king: If Arthur does not surrender himself by nightfall, both the mage and Blue will die. Bedivere is able to get the former released in exchange for Arthur surrendering both himself and the sword.

Just as Vortigern is about to kill his nephew, a giant snake controlled by the mage attacks and devours the captain and his men, while the others free Vortigern's prisoners and lead them in a revolt against the Blacklegs. A desperate Vortigern sacrifices his only daughter and is transformed into the demon knight, confronting Arthur in a separate dimension. Despite his fighting skill, Arthur is quickly beaten. Just as he is about to submit, he witnesses a flashback of the moment when his father was struck down, having turned his own body to stone to prevent Vortigern from seizing the sword. Arthur snatches the sword before it impales Uther, who gives him the right to wield it. Arthur then destroys Vortigern's weapon and kills him violently.

In the aftermath, Arthur, George, and Percival begin building the round table, where Arthur and his knights will meet. Arthur also dissolves Vortigern's pact with the Vikings, declaring that they must respect England's power if they wish to avoid war. Blue and the prostitutes arrive with the crown of Uther, which Arthur accepts. King Arthur then addresses his new subjects, holding the sword aloft in the air.

Cast[edit]

  • Charlie Hunnam as King Arthur, Uther's son, Vortigern's nephew and the would-be king of Camelot who was raised by prostitutes.
  • Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey as The Mage, a woman working for Merlin who supports Arthur and the resistance.
  • Djimon Hounsou as Sir Bedivere, the leader of the resistance and a former knight of Uther.
  • Aidan Gillen as Sir William "Goosefat Bill", an skilled archer, Bedivere's friend, former knight of Uther and member of the resistance.
  • Jude Law as Vortigern, Uther's brother, Elsa's husband, Catia's father, Arthur's uncle and the tyrannical ruthless king of Mordred.
  • Eric Bana as Uther Pendragon, Vortigern's brother, Arthur's father and the king of Britain.
  • Kingsley Ben-Adir as Sir Tristan "Wet Stick", Arthur and Backlack's childhood friend who is later turned into a knight by Bedivere.
  • Craig McGinlay as Sir Percival, a member of the resistance who is later turned into a knight by Bedivere.
  • Tom Wu as Sir George, Arthur's mentor and a skilled fighter who helps the resistance and is later turned into a knight by Bedivere.
  • Neil Maskell as Backlack, Arthur and Tristan's childhood friend and Blue's father, who helps the resistance.
  • Freddie Fox as Rubio, a member of the resistance who later betrays them and helps Vortigern.
  • Annabelle Wallis as Maggie, Vortigern's maid who helps the resistance.
  • Bleu Landau as Blue, Backlack's son.
  • Mikael Persbrandt as Greybeard, an viking who has deals with Vortigern.
  • Poppy Delevingne as Igraine, Arthur's mother and Uther's wife: she is killed by Vortigern in the beginning of the film.

Kamil Lemieszewski, Jacqui Ainsley and Rob Knighton portrays Merlin, the Lady of the Lake and Mordred, three important characters from the Arthurian Mythology, respectively. Katie McGrath and Millie Brady portrays Vortigern's wife, Elsa, and daughter, Catia, respectively. David Beckham appears in a cameo. Lorraine Bruce, Eline Powell and Hermione Corfield appears as the three Syrens. Michael McElhatton portrays Jack's Eye, Arthur's scout on the kingdom. Nicola Wren portrays Lucy, the prostitute who raises Arthur.

Production[edit]

In January 2014, Warner Bros set Guy Ritchie to direct a new multi-film version of the King Arthur legend. The first film was to be titled Knights of the Roundtable: King Arthur,[10] with Lionel Wigram as producer and Joby Harold as screenwriter.[11][12] It is the intended first installment of a planned six film series.[13]

Casting[edit]

Hunnam at the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con International, to promote King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.

Idris Elba was in talks to play a Merlin-esque figure who trains and mentors Arthur.[14] When Elba did not sign on to the film, the director continued to look for an actor to play the role.[13] Charlie Hunnam, Ritchie's choice for the role, was cast to play King Arthur.[15] Elizabeth Olsen was in talks for the female lead.[16] However, on September 18, it was Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey who was cast to play Guinevere.[10] On November 14, Jude Law was in talks to play the lead villain role in the film.[13] On February 11, 2015, Eric Bana was added to the cast to play Uther, the father of King Arthur.[17] Mikael Persbrandt joined the film on March 6, 2015, to play a villainous role.[18]

Filming[edit]

Filming in Windsor Great Park was underway in February 2015,[19] then later in North Wales from March 2, 2015.[20] Later on March 10, 2015, Ritchie tweeted a photo and confirmed the first day of shooting.[21] In April 2015, filming took place in Snowdonia, where locations used were Tryfan, Nant Gwynant near Beddgelert and Capel Curig.[22] Early in July filming continued in the Shieldaig, Loch Torridon and Applecross areas of Wester Ross in the Scottish Highlands. One day of filming also took place at The Quiraing on the Isle of Skye. Filming also took place at Warner Bros. Studios, Leavesden.

Release[edit]

The film was set for a July 22, 2016 release, but on December 21, 2015, Warner Bros. moved the date to February 17, 2017, alongside Maze Runner: The Death Cure.[23] On January 21, 2016, Warner Bros. announced it would be pushed back again to March 24, 2017.[7] The title was changed to King Arthur: Legend of the Sword in July 2016.[24] In December 2016, the release was pushed back from its March 24 slot to May 12, 2017, possibly so as not to compete with CHiPs.[25][26]

Promotion[edit]

The trailer was released on July 23, 2016, during the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con and was attached to screenings of Mechanic: Resurrection, Don't Breathe, Shut In, and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

It was originally planned for an IMAX release, as evident in the Comic-Con trailer,[27] but was cancelled due to it being postponed and only received non-IMAX presentations. The first extended TV spot was released on January 22, 2017, and was shown on the 2017 NFC Championship Game on Fox Broadcasting Company between the Atlanta Falcons and the Green Bay Packers and the 2017 AFC Championship Game on CBS between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots.

A second trailer was released on February 20, 2017 and was attached to Logan, Kong: Skull Island, Power Rangers and Ghost in the Shell. The third and final trailer was released on April 1, 2017 and was attached to The Fate of the Furious, The Lost City of Z (which also starred Hunnam) and Free Fire. All-in-all, Warner Bros. spent $135 million on marketing the film.[8]

The film was shown at select AMC Theatres in a special preview on April 27, 2017, in a promotional event titled "King for a Day." Demand for tickets led AMC to expand the event to 200 theaters.[28]

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

As of May 22, 2017, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword has grossed $27.5 million in the United States and Canada and $67 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $94.5 million, against a production budget of $175 million.[5]

In North America, the film was released alongside Snatched and was initially projected to gross around $25 million from 3,702 theaters during its opening weekend.[4] It made $1.15 million from Thursday night previews at about 3,200 theaters, but after making just $5.3 million on Friday, weekend projections were lowered to $15 million.[29] It ended up debuting to $15.4 million, finishing third at the box office. Deadline.com noted that due to the film's $175 million production budget, as well as at least an additional $100 million spent on marketing, the film was destined to be a box office bomb. Regarding the cost of the film, the site quoted one finance expert as saying: "Make original IP [intellectual property] for a cost effective price. If it works then spend more if necessary on the sequel. King Arthur should have been done for $60M-$80M. Warner Bros. had no reason to spend $175M-plus on this picture."[8] Comparing its opening to cost, IndieWire called the film's failings "historic".[30] The Hollywood Reporter noted that the film will likely lose about $150 million.[9]

The film debuted at #1 in an estimated 29 countries, including Russia and Scandinavia, with markets to follow in the coming weeks including the origin of the film's plot, the United Kingdom, as well as France, South Korea and Australia.[31] Over its opening weekend, it made $29.1 million more in other countries besides America, overall 51 countries.[32]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 28% based on 185 reviews, and an average rating of 4.6/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "King Arthur: Legend of the Sword piles mounds of modern action flash on an age-old tale – and wipes out much of what made it a classic story in the first place."[33] On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating, to film has a score 42 out of 100, based 44 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[34] On CinemaScore, audiences gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale, with 56% of the opening weekend filmgoers being under the age of 35, and 59% men.[8]

Writing for The Guardian, Peter Bradshaw gave the film a generally positive review stating: "Guy Ritchie’s cheerfully ridiculous Arthur is a gonzo monarch, a death-metal warrior-king. Ritchie’s film is at all times over the top, crashing around its digital landscapes in all manner of beserkness, sometimes whooshing along, sometimes stuck in the odd narrative doldrum. But it is often surprisingly entertaining, and whatever clunkers he has delivered in the past, Ritchie again shows that a film-maker of his craft and energy commands attention, and part of his confidence in reviving King Arthur resides here in being so unselfconscious and unconcerned about the student canon that has gone before."[35]

In a negative review of the film for the Chicago Tribune, Michael Phillips questioned the long-term longevity of the projected and planned series of six Arthur films from Ritchie stating: "I'm no businessman, but plans for a six-film franchise may be optimistic. Optimism is nowhere to be found in Ritchie's movie itself. It is a grim and stupid thing, from one of the world's most successful mediocre filmmakers, and if Shakespeare's King Lear were blogging today, he'd supply the blurb quote: 'Nothing will come of nothing.'."[36] Matt Zoller Seitz of RogerEbert.com gave the film one-and-a-half out of four stars, stating that despite the potential for a revisionist King Arthur story with "[t]he Ritchie sense of style", the overall problem is the film's lack of modulation: "Ritchie keeps rushing us along for two hours, as if to make absolutely certain that we never have time to absorb any character or moment, much less revel in the glorious, cheeky ridiculousness of the whole thing."[37]

Alissa Wilkinson of Vox critiqued the film is "surprisingly good, and surprisingly political" in relation to the era of Brexit, which makes a distinct case for moderate English populism in redefining what the country is in the modern day just as it was when Arthur emerged in pre-Christian Britain in the 5th century. She writes the film is "...often good...occasionally, it's even pretty great".[38]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Film releases". Variety Insight. Retrieved November 16, 2016. 
  2. ^ "King Arthur: Legend of the Sword". AMC Theatres. Retrieved April 28, 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c "King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017)". AllMovie. Retrieved May 12, 2017. 
  4. ^ a b "'King Arthur: Legend of the Sword' poised for soft box office opening as 'Guardians' rules". Los Angeles Times. May 9, 2017. 
  5. ^ a b "King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 22, 2017. 
  6. ^ Jenkins, Mark (11 May 2017). "'King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword': An Edgy Script, Dulled By CGI". NPR. Retrieved 17 May 2017. 
  7. ^ a b McNary, Dave (December 7, 2016). "Charlie Hunnam's King Arthur Movie Pushed Back to March 2017". Comingsoon.net. Retrieved December 7, 2016. 
  8. ^ a b c d "'King Arthur's Head Cut Off With $14.7M Opening As 'Snatched' Swims To $17.5M In A 'Guardians'-Ruled Mother's Day Weekend". Deadline.com. May 14, 2017. 
  9. ^ a b "Box-Office Meltdown: 'King Arthur' Could Lose $150M After Falling on Its Sword". The Hollywood Reporter. May 15, 2017. 
  10. ^ a b Kit, Borys (September 18, 2014). "'King Arthur' Finds Guinevere With 'Pirates of the Caribbean' Actress". hollywoodreporter.com. Retrieved September 19, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Will Guy Ritchie Pull Sword From Stone After All And Make King Arthur Movie At Warner Bros?". deadline.com. 27 January 2014. Retrieved 19 April 2014. 
  12. ^ "Guy Ritchie's 'King Arthur' Set for July 2016 Release". variety.com. 10 April 2014. Retrieved 19 April 2014. 
  13. ^ a b c Kroll, Justin (November 14, 2014). "Jude Law Circling Villainous Role in Guy Ritchie's King Arthur Film". variety.com. Retrieved November 16, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Idris Elba Eyes Guy Ritchie's 'King Arthur' at Warner Bros.". variety.com. July 21, 2014. Retrieved July 23, 2014. 
  15. ^ "'Sons Of Anarchy's Charlie Hunnam Is Guy Ritchie's Choice For King Arthur". deadline.com. 
  16. ^ "Charlie Hunnam to Play King Arthur for Guy Ritchie". variety.com. 
  17. ^ Kroll, Justin (February 11, 2015). "Eric Bana to Play King Arthur's Father in 'Knights of the Round Table' (EXCLUSIVE)". variety.com. Retrieved February 15, 2015. 
  18. ^ Ford, Rebecca (March 6, 2015). "Guy Ritchie's 'King Arthur' Adds Swedish Actor Mikael Persbrandt". hollywoodreporter.com. Retrieved March 7, 2015. 
  19. ^ Phillip Williams. "Vans & signs left after filming (C) Phillip Williams : Geograph Britain and Ireland". geograph.org.uk. Retrieved 2 February 2016. 
  20. ^ "On the Set for 3/2/15: Matthew McConaughey & Gugu Mbatha-Raw Start 'Free State of Jones', 'Kickboxer' Wraps & More". ssninsider.com. March 2, 2015. Retrieved March 7, 2015. 
  21. ^ "First day on KORT". twitter.com. Retrieved March 11, 2015. 
  22. ^ Crump, Eryl (April 10, 2015). "Filming of Hollywood movie King Arthur set to start in Snowdonia". dailypost.co.uk. Retrieved April 12, 2015. 
  23. ^ Anthony D'Alessandro (December 21, 2015). "Guy Ritchie's King Arthur Film Gallops To 2017, 'Lights Out' On July 22, 2016: WB Release Date Changes". Deadline.com. Retrieved December 22, 2015. 
  24. ^ "Warner Bros. Pictures Comic-Con Plans Announced!". July 11, 2016. Retrieved July 12, 2016. 
  25. ^ "Guy Ritchie's King Arthur Has A New Release Date, And It's Brutal". CinemaBlend. December 7, 2016. Retrieved April 24, 2017. 
  26. ^ "Warner Bros. Shifts King Arthur, CHiPS & Annabelle 2 Release Dates". screenrant.com. 7 December 2016. Retrieved 24 April 2017. 
  27. ^ "King Arthur: Legend of the Sword in IMAX". imax.com. Retrieved 24 April 2017. 
  28. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (April 20, 2017). "'King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword' Advance Previews In Huge Demand; AMC Ups Theater Count". Deadline. Retrieved April 24, 2017. 
  29. ^ "'King Arthur' Delivers $1.15M from Thursday Previews, 'Snatched' Takes in $650k". Box Office Mojo. May 12, 2017. 
  30. ^ "'King Arthur: Legend of the Sword' is a Failure, and Summer Box Office Could Follow". IndieWire. May 14, 2016. 
  31. ^ "Box Office: ‘King Arthur’ Stumbles Overseas With $29.1 Million", Seth Kelly. Variety. May 14, 2017. Retrieved May, 14 2017
  32. ^ https://www.wsj.com/articles/king-arthur-movie-falls-on-its-sword-in-opening-weekend-1494786805
  33. ^ "King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 20, 2017. 
  34. ^ "King Arthur: Legend of the Sword reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved May 19, 2017. 
  35. ^ Bradshaw, Peter (9 May 2017). "Review of Guy Ritchie's King Arthur". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 18 May 2017. 
  36. ^ Michael Phillips. Review of Guy Ritchie's King Arthur  Chicago Tribune.
  37. ^ Seitz, Matt Zoller (May 12, 2017). "King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review (2017)". RogerEbert.com. Retrieved May 14, 2017. 
  38. ^ "King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is surprisingly good, and surprisingly political", Alissa Wilkinson. Vox.com. May 11, 2017. Retrieved 14 may 2017

External links[edit]