Oliver Stone had a really rotten week. His huge-budget epic drama ?Alexander,? starring Colin Farrell, Angeline Jolie, Val Kilmer, and Anthony Hopkins, premiered to critical raspberries and popular apathy. ?Alexander? reportedly cost over $150 million to make, and over the five-day Thanksgiving weekend, it garnered a mere $21,837,517, finishing sixth at the box office.
In all likelihood, Warner Bros., which produced the film, will still recoup its costs, despite the probability that ?Alexander? won?t come close to $100 million in domestic grosses. Europeans are expected to turn out in high numbers to see the Macedonian wunderkind; they turned out en masse to see the American box office flop ?Troy? as well.
What was the hold-up for American audiences? It wasn?t the nearly three-hour running time ? remember, each movie in the ?Lord of the Rings? trilogy ran over 178 minutes, with the most successful of the trilogy, ?The Return of the King,? running at well over three hours. It wasn?t the critical coolness toward Stone?s pet project ? several of the movies that finished above Stone?s at the box office last weekend were critically panned (although none to the extent of this disaster).
A large part of ?Alexander??s downfall is attributable to the moral distastefulness of the subject matter. Alexander the Great is played as a mop-top, indecisive bisexual by Farrell. During the course of the movie, Farrell kisses a eunuch full on the mouth, and exchanges numerous lingering glances with boyhood chum and grown-up gay lover Hephaiston (played by an eye-liner-wearing Jared Leto). Anthony Hopkins, playing Ptolemy, intones: ??It was said . . . that Alexander was never defeated, except by Hephaistion?s thighs.?