Edward Zwick blames himself for the failure of Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

Connie Queline

Edward Zwick blames himself for the failure of Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

Director Edward Zwick reflects on the failure of his 2016 film Jack Reacher: Never Go Back in his memoir, blaming himself for it

Sure, Tom Cruise doesn’t look anything like the Jack Reacher character as described in the novels by Lee Child – but the average movie-goer didn’t seem to mind in 2012, when audiences showed up to make the film Jack Reacher, written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie (based on Child’s novel One Shot) a box office success. Made on a budget of $60 million, Jack Reacher earned over $218 million worldwide. It looked like Cruise had a new franchise on his hands. But sometimes bizarre decisions are made in the name of franchise filmmaking. With McQuarrie busy working on a different Cruise franchise (Mission: Impossible), the Jack Reacher sequel was passed over to Cruise’s The Last Samurai director Edward Zwick. A promising start. But then the questionable decisions began, resulting in a sequel – 2016’s Jack Reacher: Never Go Back – that fell short of its predecessor in every way.

Zwick reflects on the failure of Jack Reacher: Never Go Back in his memoir Hits, Flops, and Other Illusions: My Fortysomething Years in Hollywood (pick up a copy HERE), writing, “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, which Tom Cruise and I made in 2016, fizzled at the box office. I blame myself (and my willing accomplice, Don Granger) for thinking the audience might enjoy a mash-up of Jack Reacher and Paper Moon, when in fact they just wanted more red meat. I had a wonderful time working with Cobie Smulders, and I certainly don’t blame Tom for not being six two – as the novelist Lee Child described his protagonist – and should Tom happen to call about making a third movie together, I’ll definitely pick up.

Like I said, bizarre choices. Jack Reacher had just introduced us to a great new hero: an Army MP-turned-drifter tough guy who would bust bones and crack skulls while solving mysteries. The fact that anyone would think the best option for a sequel would be to saddle the character with a child sidekick (who may or may not be his daughter) in a Paper Moon mash-up is baffling. But that’s what we got. I still enjoyed the movie, but it’s not what I was hoping the second Reacher movie would be.

Made on a budget somewhere in the range of 60 to 96 million, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back earned $162 million at the worldwide box office. The film franchise ended there. Now Reacher lives on as a TV series on Prime Video, with the more Child-accurate Alan Ritchson in the title role.

What do you think of the Jack Reacher films, and Jack Reacher: Never Go Back in particular? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

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