Man, oh man, it sure seemed like “The Northman” had a lot going for it, didn’t it? Director Robert Eggers was taking on a larger scale epic after directing smaller hits with “The Witch” and “The Lighthouse.” The problem is, the budget of his Viking blockbuster ballooned to $90 million, that cursed budget number from earlier on in the list. Given that it is not exactly an audience-friendly blockbuster and is very much an Eggers film, it was straight-up doomed. With roughly a 50/50 split between domestic and international audiences, Alexander Skarsgard’s Viking revenge tale earned a mere $69.6 million, which couldn’t even account for the budget, let alone whatever Focus Features spent on marketing this thing. One can only hope this thing did exceedingly well on VOD, but it would be a real stretch to assume that would be enough to get it into the green in the short term. At the very least, it’s going to discourage studios from taking big swings like this in the blockbuster space in the immediate future. From my point of view, this was one of the most irresponsible spends of the year, as this movie never should have been made for that amount of money. Granted, the pandemic pushed the budget much higher than originally planned, but even so, anything over $45 million, give or take, would feel like a stretch on something like this, with the current moviegoing marketplace being what it is. And it brings me not joy to say that, but flops like this hurt worse than a pared down budget ever could.