‘Don’t Worry Darling’: how the drama impacts the movie’s release

Olivia Wilde’s newest movie Don’t Worry Darling has been accompanied by negative press for over two years. With the picture now finally coming out, we take a look at some of the drama and its impact on the movie’s release. Because is there such a thing as bad publicity?

The new psychological thriller with British leads Harry Styles and Florence Pugh (Midsommar) premiered for audiences on the 21st of September. The movie has been making the headlines several times in the past two years, but usually not for good reasons. Olivia Wilde’s second feature as a director has been followed by lots of drama and it seems like all this bad publicity will have an effect on the newest film.

Spit-gate and more
The infamous spit-gate took place at the Venice film festival in September. TikTok and Twitter wildly speculated on whether or not Harry Styles spat on his American co-star Chris Pine. But Pine’s management was quick to deny the allegations regarding the spit-gate, claiming the actor was searching for his sunglasses. Later on, director Olivia Wilde stated on a talk show that the spit-gate was all made up and just a way for people to create more drama.

@popbase The internet believe that #harrystyles spit on #chrispine at the #dontworrydarling premiere. #venezia79 #venicefilmfestival #fyp #foryou #popculture #film ♬ original sound – Pop Base

But not only the spit-gate made the headlines, the allegations between actor Shia LeBeouf and Olivia Wilde did so too. The actor was one of the big names attached to the film, but only a few months later he was fired from the project and replaced by Wilde’s boyfriend, Harry Styles. Wilde claimed LeBeoufs inappropriate and erratic behaviour to be the reason for his firing. But a few months prior to the release, the actor came out with texts sent to and by Wilde, proving that he made his own decision to quit the project, stating he didn’t have enough rehearse time.

With all the news regarding the movie, we shouldn’t forget about the movie’s release. But it also leads to the question how all this negative press could impact the release. If we look at its Oscar chances, there never have been any high expectations for the film. According to critics and Oscar predictions, several better movies came out or will be coming out later this year. So it doesn’t seem like the picture has ruined nor improved its chances on a potential win. Only Florence Pugh could be considered a candidate as Best Actress. But with strong competition from Cate Blanchett (Tár), Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All At Once) and Margot Robbie (Babylon), Pugh never stands a chance to win, drama or no drama.

The commercial success however seems to be doing well with all the (negative) press. With a projected box office (the amount of money a movie makes) of around $20 million in the opening weekend, according to Variety, it looks like the movie will do very well commercially. Harry Styles fans are eager to see their idol in his first leading role, and don’t seem scared away by the bad press. The bad press actually seems to have a positive effect on the commercial success and it looks like audience will easily find their way to the theatres.

With reviews now coming in from both audiences and critics, it looks like the movie won’t be as interesting as the drama surrounding it. The interest in the movie itself has never been as high as for the drama. Several reviews claim the movie looks good visually, but the story itself can never fully convince audiences. Harry Styles leading debut is considered mediocre at best, but this won’t stop fans from going to the theatres. It seems like the saying is true, and there’s no such thing as bad publicity. Don’t Worry Darling is looking to be a commercial success despite a not-so-good story.

Text: Lukas Emmerechts, Final Editor: Marlies Geyskens
Picture: © Warner Bros, Don’t Worry Darling