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An awe-inspiring epic never getting the sequels it deserved still stings almost 20 years later

We Got This Covered 10/7/2022 Scott Campbell
© Provided by We Got This Covered

Not every movie designed with the intention of launching a multi-film franchise is lucky enough to be rewarded with one, but it’s been almost 20 years, and fans are still struggling to come to terms with the acclaimed seafaring epic Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World existing as a standalone feature – as opposed to the launchpad for more installments it deserved to be.

All the critical acclaim in the world doesn’t really mean a damn in Hollywood if the profit margins weren’t up to scratch, and the bad news for Peter Weir’s literary adaptation was that it only earned $210 million at the box office on a hefty $150 million budget, even if it did win rave reviews and land 10 Academy Award nominations including Best Picture and Best Director.

A reboot is admittedly on the cards, though, but it’s become clear for the umpteenth time that any interest in Master and Commander is effectively nonexistent if it doesn’t feature Russell Crowe and the gang reprising their roles.

master and commander © Provided by We Got This Covered master and commander

It didn’t help that The Far Side of the World hit theaters just months after Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, which had given audiences their fill of swashbuckling blockbuster action, except in Gore Verbinski’s case he had the backing of the Disney machine, an instantly-iconic protagonist in Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow, and plenty of fantasy trappings.

Make absolutely no mistake about it; Master and Commander is a fantastic film that more than justified its need to exist as merely the first of many adaptations of Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey–Maturin literary collection, but the sad truth is that the general public didn’t put their hands into their pockets to stump up the cash and make it a reality.

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