"Jem and the Holograms" director Jon M. Chu ("GI Joe: Retaliation") has opened up about the film's less-than-stellar box office turnout, and shares the dark side of fandom he's experienced since the film's release -- which includes hate mail, death threats and racism.
Speaking at the Film Independent Forum in LA on Saturday (as recounted by The Hollywood Reporter), Chu addressed Jem's low box office numbers head-on, saying, "So, this is a bit awkward only because I'm supposed to be here this morning talking about how great it is to be in the movie business — it's so awesome — but currently, I don't know if you've looked at box office numbers, this morning specifically, it hasn't been the greatest."
Chu described the brutal extent of the negative reaction to his Jem movie -- which he said he's worked on for the past 10 years with producer Jason Blum -- noting, "I get fans sending me hate mail, I get death threats, I get racist remarks — it's a really fun business," Chu remarked. "Reviewers have been harsh, to say it lightly."
Despite the Jem movie's considerably small $5 million budget, the film -- which is distributed by Universal Pictures -- was expected to earn more than the $1.3 million it made this past weekend, a remarkably low total for a major studio release opening on more than 2,000 screens. "Yes, we only made the movie for five [million dollars], but it doesn't get easy when you hear those [box office] numbers," said Chu. "I'll probably get some texts along the way today saying it's not going anywhere. (Laughs.) So this morning isn't the best kind of day."
Chu's next feature, "Now You See Me 2," is set to hit theaters in June 2016.