It’s been seven years since Peter Jackson last directed a feature film, and whatever he comes up with next will be pivotal towards determining the future of his career.
The Hobbit trilogy may have earned over $2.9 billion at the box office, but it was a pale shadow of the filmmaker’s The Lord of the Rings movies, and you get the distinct impression he only stepped behind the camera because Guillermo del Toro dropped out shortly before the start of production and there was nobody else qualified to take over at the last minute.
He may have remained incredibly active as a producer and documentarian, but he’s only helmed two pics outside of Middle-earth in the last 20 years, and one of them flopped spectacularly. Yes, 2009’s literary adaptation The Lovely Bones was initially positioned as a major awards season contender, which was no surprise when it boasted the Oscar-laden trio of Jackson, Fran Walsh and Phillipa Boyens as the creative driving forces, not to mention a star-studded ensemble that featured Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Stanley Tucci, Susan Sarandon and Saoirse Ronan.
Unfortunately, though, it was greeted tepidly by critics and still holds a meager Rotten Tomatoes score of 32%, with the wild tonal shifts coming in for particular fire, although the performances and visuals were largely praised. Tucci did pick up a deserved Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor as well, but the movie itself flopped at the box office after earning just $93 million on a $65 million budget.
It marked a change of pace for Peter Jackson following a decade of blockbuster fantasy, and The Lovely Bones is now streaming on Netflix for those intrigued to see the director try his hand at something different.