I saw Annihilation this past weekend and came away with a few thoughts. I don't want to spoil anything about the movie itself, but will say highest endorsement possible. This will likely be in my top five movies of 2018. It was original and provocative with gorgeous visual and sound design. I was transfixed and after it ended I wanted to see it again. How refreshing to see something not tethered to anything, sequel, IP, reboot; just a pure vision of a writer and director.
Why is it tragic? Annihilation flopped at the box office, and received mixed audience reactions. If you're outside the United States or China you don't even have the option to see it in a cinema as rights were sold to Netflix. This beautiful film deserves to be shown off on a massive screen with top sound system, but now will be seen by majority of people on televisions, computers, or phones.
How did this happen? A mix of Skydance 2017 flop "Geostorm" hurting finances and the fear of seeing critically hailed big budget sci-fi "Blade Runner 2049" flop sent the studio into a panic. "Dumb it down! It's to cerebral for audiences!" but the producers and directors stood firm on script and made the movie they wanted. Annihilation was put out against the juggernaut of Black Panther with a modest marketing budget and ends as a failure vindicating the studio's decision to break even with the Netflix deal.
What it means. Annihilation is yet another nail in the coffin for big budget risks that aren't tied to existing properties. Any time someone says "Why is Hollywood so creatively bankrupt?" point to this. Shame that Alex Garland should be a director on the rise with this and his superb "Ex Machina" will likely struggle to get another movie made soon.