Dakota Johnson on 'Madame Web' Box Office Failure: Audiences "Can Sniff Out Bullsh*t"

Costar Sydney Sweeney has also publicly distanced herself from the film.

Actress Dakota Johnson during an interview with host Seth Meyers on February 7, 2024
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Dakota Johnson is speaking out about Madame Web, the recent superhero film she starred in that failed spectacularly at the box office and in public opinion. ("No, I’m not breaking any silence. I’m just talking," she preempted.)

In a new interview with Bustle, Johnson acknowledged Madame Web's terrible reception, and empathized with audiences who criticized it.

Dakota Johnson at the Madame Web premiere wearing a webbed sheer naked dress

Dakota Johnson wears a spiderweb dress for the premiere of Madame Web.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

"It’s so hard to get movies made, and in these big movies that get made—and it’s even starting to happen with the little ones, which is what’s really freaking me out—decisions are being made by committees, and art does not do well when it’s made by committee," the actress said.

"Films are made by a filmmaker and a team of artists around them. You cannot make art based on numbers and algorithms. My feeling has been for a long time that audiences are extremely smart, and executives have started to believe that they’re not. Audiences will always be able to sniff out bullsh*t. Even if films start to be made with AI, humans aren’t going to f*cking want to see those."

Johnson is actually the second Madame Web star to publicly distance herself from the movie, after Sydney Sweeney joked during last weekend's Saturday Night Live monologue, "You might have seen me in Anyone But You or Euphoria. You definitely did not see me in Madame Web."

Still, it wasn't all bad, according to Johnson: She at least learned a few lessons from her experience with it.

"But it was definitely an experience for me to make that movie," she told Bustle. "I had never done anything like it before. I probably will never do anything like it again because I don’t make sense in that world. And I know that now."

She continued, "But sometimes in this industry, you sign on to something, and it’s one thing and then as you’re making it, it becomes a completely different thing, and you’re like, Wait, what? But it was a real learning experience, and of course it’s not nice to be a part of something that’s ripped to shreds, but I can’t say that I don’t understand."

Madame Web currently boasts a 3.7/10 rating on iMDb and a 12% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. According to Collider, it grossed $91 million at the global box office. To put this in context, similar superhero movie The Marvels grossed $190 million worldwide, and that was considered a bomb. On the other end of the spectrum, 2021's Spider-Man: No Way Home—a box office success—grossed almost $2 billion worldwide. Yikes.

Iris Goldsztajn
Morning Editor

Iris Goldsztajn is a London-based journalist, editor and author. She is the morning editor at Marie Claire, and her work has appeared in the likes of British Vogue, InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Refinery29 and SELF. Iris writes about everything from celebrity news and relationship advice to the pitfalls of diet culture and the joys of exercise. She has many opinions on Harry Styles, and can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.