‘What Have I Done To Offend These People?’: Argylle's Matthew Vaughn Shares Blunt Thoughts On The Film Receiving Negative Reviews

 Henry Cavill, Dua Lipa and John Cena in Argylle.
Henry Cavill, Dua Lipa and John Cena in Argylle.

Over the course of his career as a director, Matthew Vaughn has not earned universal praise. He's made some movies that have received acclaim – like Layer Cake, Stardust, X-Men: First Class and Kingsman: The Secret Service – and he's also made films that didn't manage to totally win over critics. Even with that experience, however, the filmmaker still found himself shocked by the reactions that came out when his latest work, Argylle, arrived in theaters earlier this year.

CinemaBlend's Mike Reyes gave the movie positive marks in his Argylle review, but a lot of other writers were far less kind, and Matthew Vaughn was taken aback by their criticisms. Empire recently asked him if he was disappointed by the reception, and he didn't mince words. Said Vaughn,

Fuck yeah. My guard came down on Argylle. We had done test screenings that had gone fantastically well. The premiere was a really fun night, and it was like going back to the Snatch days where there was such excitement. And I started drinking the Kool-Aid… It’s a fun, feel-good movie, or I thought it was a fun, feel-good movie. We didn’t make Citizen Kane, but fucking hell, then the reviews came out and I’m like, ‘Wait, what have I done to offend these people?’ They were vitriolic. I’m not saying the movie’s perfect by any means, but I didn’t think it was offensive. That took me by surprise.

Matthew Vaughn clearly had raised expectations for Argylle – which was produced by Apple Original Films and sported a $200 million budget – and things did not turn out as planned. The movie may have tested well, but a lot of critics took opportunity to tear into the work, with specific aim taken at its length (it has a 139 minute runtime) and what many described as a confusing and convoluted third act.

The review embargo for Argylle lifted two days prior to its domestic release, and Matthew Vaughn was so shocked by the tenor of responses that he made a point of visiting public screenings to witness how crowds were reacting. He explained in the recent interview that he lost some of his confidence in himself, saying,

I even went round to cinemas because I thought, ‘Maybe I’ve lost the plot now.’ It did rattle me. I’m genuinely scratching my head about that, because you can’t ignore it. It wasn’t like [just] a few bad reviews… It is what it is. You learn from these things.

Ultimately (with no help from the critical response), Argylle didn't have a great run on the big screen. After making just $17.5 million in its debut in the United States and Canada, ticket sales dropped 64 percent in its second weekend, and the film's stretch in theaters ended up only lasting seven weeks. According to The Numbers, it only managed to make $96.2 million globally, rendering it a flop in the context of its budget.

That being said, Matthew Vaughn is keeping hope alive for an Argylle sequel (which was teased in a mid-credits sequence). The movie may not have done well in theaters, but it has apparently found an audience streaming for Apple TV+ subscribers. Without getting into specifics, the filmmaker noted,

We’re doing very well on streaming. People are liking it. Nothing would make me happier than making another one. I’m getting texts saying, ‘Wow, those reviews were fucking harsh!’ The more we can get people to watch Argylle, the more chance we make another one. I’d love to make another one, we’ve got it planned.

Argylle wouldn't be the first movie to get a sequel thanks to finding an audience on streaming, but nothing has been made official yet, and we'll just have to wait and see if that's what fate has in store for the potential franchise.