Poorly-conceived ‘Steve Jobs’ movie flops hard and Silicon Valley cheers

“The movie ‘Steve Jobs’ had all the makings of a Hollywood blockbuster,” Nick Bilton writes for The New York Times. “It had a starry cast (Kate Winslet, Jeff Daniels, Michael Fassbender). The screenplay was by the acclaimed writer Aaron Sorkin (who also wrote ‘The Social Network’).”

“But the movie tanked at the box office, earning about $18 million in the seven weeks after its Oct. 9 release,” Bilton writes. “Perhaps Hollywood had overestimated the public’s fascination with the man. Perhaps the film came a couple of years too late or a couple of decades too early. Or perhaps we have Steve Jobs fatigue, after all the books, movies and documentaries on the visionary Apple co-founder. But perhaps most surprising is the way in which Silicon Valley relished in, and contributed to, the film’s demise.”

“What was also surprising was how veteran technology journalists took issue with the film’s depiction of Mr. Jobs. They attacked the film and its makers like piranha that had just come off a two-week juice cleanse,” Bilton writes. “Walt Mossberg, who was a technology columnist for The Wall Street Journal for many years before co-founding ReCode, wrote a 1,400-word column on how Mr. Sorkin “chose to cherry-pick and exaggerate some of the worst aspects of Jobs’ character,” proclaiming over and over that the Steve Jobs portrayed in the film ‘isn’t the man I knew.’ Steven Levy, who covered Apple for Newsweek and Rolling Stone, said that the Steve Jobs portrayed wasn’t ‘the person I knew.’ And Larry Magid, who covered Apple as a syndicated technology columnist for The San Jose Mercury News, wrote in Fortune that the movie was ‘not about the man I knew.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Bilton seems upset that this mess flopped. Why does he care?

It’s simple really: “Steve Jobs” problem is that it’s SJINO.

This film is garbage precisely because it opportunistically trades on Steve Jobs name. If Sorkin had done as the multitudinously more talented and vastly more intelligent [Orson] Welles did, and named the film something else, using invented names for his invented characters who spouted his invented, increasingly tiresome pitter-patter dialog, we might have a different opinion. Alas, Sorkin et al. were not confident enough to do so. Instead, they chose the easy way over the right path. They chose to profit off of a dead man’s name, blemishing his legacy, in order to peddle their flickering light show of falsehoods. — MacDailyNews, October 21, 2015

Pixar president: Steve Jobs would be ‘appalled’ by Aaron Sorkin’s ‘Steve Jobs’ – November 23, 2015
Apple makes more in 1.5 minutes than Aaron Sorkin’s ‘Steve Jobs’ flop took in over the weekend – November 16, 2015
Aaron Sorkin’s ‘Steve Jobs’ flick unceremoniously dumped out of theaters – November 9, 2015
Aaron Sorkin’s ‘Steve Jobs’ fiction’s box-office flop may hurt award hopes – November 9, 2015
Aaron Sorkin ‘Steve Jobs’ fantasy flops hard – October 26, 2015
Steve Jobs’ widow continues to speak out against ‘Steve Jobs’ movie – October 22, 2015
Mossberg: The Steve Jobs I knew isn’t in Aaron Sorkin’s ‘Steve Jobs’ movie – October 21, 2015
Why Danny Boyle filmed ‘Steve Jobs’ in three different formats – October 16, 2015
‘Steve Jobs’ movie is fiction, blatantly inaccurate; yet another con job from Aaron Sorkin – October 14, 2015
Paid consultant Woz on ‘Steve Jobs’ movie claims accuracy doesn’t matter – October 13, 2015
Universal releases new 2:20-minute scene from ‘Steve Jobs’ – October 9, 2015
The Steve Jobs in ‘Steve Jobs’ is a fictional character invented by Aaron Sorkin – October 8, 2015
Jony Ive joins chorus of insiders’ complaints about new ‘Steve Jobs’ movie – October 8, 2015
The Strange Saga of ‘Steve Jobs’: A widow’s threats, high-powered spats and the Sony hack – October 7, 2015
‘Steve Jobs’ director Danny Boyle warns of ‘tremendous, terrifying power’ of tech giants like Apple – October 7, 2015
Aaron Sorkin: Steve Jobs just wanted to be loved – October 6, 2015
The ‘Steve Jobs’ movie that Sony, DiCaprio, and Bale didn’t want is now an Oscar favorite – October 6, 2015
Michael Fassbender already the odds-on favorite to win an Oscar for ‘Steve Jobs’ – October 5, 2015
Steve Jobs’ widow and friends take aim at Hollywood over ‘Steve Jobs’ biopic – October 5, 2015
‘Steve Jobs’ biopic too nasty to win Best Picture award – October 2, 2015
Andy Hertzfeld: ‘Steve Jobs’ movie ‘deviates from reality everywhere’ but ‘aspires to explore and expose the deeper truths’ – October 2, 2015
Aaron Sorkin blasts Apple’s Tim Cook over ‘Steve Jobs’ critique: ‘You’ve got a lot of nerve’ – September 25, 2015


    1. the main reason it tanked was because it was a shitty movie.

      three scenes of talky-talky backstage before early product releases… who cares?

      even staying within that claustrophobic format, would’ve been more relevant to include backstage at the iPhone launch.

    1. Absolutely right gv. People haven’t lost their fascination with Jobs and Apple, the film didn’t come too early or too late, and folks don’t have Steve Jobs fatigue. The problem is the movie SUCKED! It was a fictional tale, and not a very good one, that was advertised as true story.

  1. I definitely will watch the Steve Jobs film. I’m just not going to pay for it . . . As an adult, I will fully understand it is not the “real” Steve Jobs on screen . . . just like reading the Kama Sutra has not caused any long term brain damage (that I’m aware of ), I’m sure that watching this movie will not cause irreparable harm 🙂

    1. Then I guess it’s OK if someone makes a movie of your life and makes you look like a total a-hole without redeeming you for all time to people everywhere and all your heirs? (Assuming you aren’t one of course.)

  2. Bilton posits just 3 possible reasons the movie flopped: Hollywood overestimated public fascination w SJ; bad timing; and SJ fatigue.

    A fourth possible reason is obvious and far more plausible, and renders the other 3 excuses irrelevant: the movie was an abominably poor portrayal of a man the world is fascinated with.

  3. I did see the Fassbender version of the Steve Jobs movie a few months ago… poor Steve was constantly portrayed as the asshole, and really only put the spotlight on the negatives for the majority of the movie until the very end.

    I still think Pirates of Silicon Valley is the best one.

  4. I still say it is BEAUTIFUL art.

    That said, clearly some serious mistakes were made here.

    The line about stealing the UI or GUI or whatever happens with Woz’s back to the camera, so likely dubbed in later. A HUGE mistake.

    Taking artistic liberty but calling it Steve Jobs was a HUGE mistake.

    Marketing it as an emotional father daughter drama was bizarre.

    Fassbender did a nice job, but who again? No one goes to a movie to see Fassbender. Autocorrect can’t even recognize his name.

    So yeah, huge mistakes. Which is a shame, because I actually shed a few tears at the end, and the movie still has me thinking.

    Too bad.

  5. I just don’t think Bilton is smart enough, or informed enough, to understand why this film is so bad; he seems pretty clueless… or he has abone to pick eith Jobs and he distorted his review.

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