Napoleon’s Rotten Tomatoes Score Completes Joaquin Phoenix’s Disappointing 2023 (& 2024 May Not Fix It)


  • Joaquin Phoenix’s 2023 movies, “Beau Is Afraid” and “Napoleon,” received mixed reviews from critics and audiences, falling short of expectations.
  • “Beau Is Afraid” was a box office bomb, making only $11.5 million against a $35 million budget, while “Napoleon” has earned $78.8 million worldwide so far.
  • Despite the anticipation for “Joker: Folie à Deux” in 2024, it is uncertain whether it will improve Phoenix’s Rotten Tomatoes scores, as critics may have varying opinions similar to the previous film.

Joaquin Phoenix’s 2023 is shaping up to be quite discouraging following the release of his latest film, Napoleon, and his upcoming project in 2024 might follow suit. Aside from Napoleon, the actor also starred in Beau Is Afraid, which premiered on April 14, 2023, and both movies did not perform well on Rotten Tomatoes. The films fell short of expectations regarding reviews from critics, and their audience scores on the website were not much better.

Phoenix plays Beau Wassermann in Beau Is Afraid, which tells the story of a man (Beau) facing many fears while attempting to travel home to attend his mother’s funeral. As for Napoleon, Phoenix portrays the titular character (Napoleon Bonaparte), and the movie depicts the infamous French emperor’s life in the late 1700s and early 1800s. The two projects were supposed to be highlights in the actor’s film reel, but critics were divided over both instead.

Joaquin Phoenix’s Two 2023 Movies Have Both Been Divisive

Beau looking confused in Beau Is Afraid

Beau Is Afraid was a box office bomb — it made only $11.5 million during its theatrical run in the summer of 2023 against a budget of $35 million. Meanwhile, critics were divided over the surrealist tragicomedy horror film. Some were impressed by the movie’s ambition and Phoenix’s stellar performance as Beau, while others called it “overstuffed” and criticized its excessively long runtime. Beau Is Afraid received a Rotten Tomatoes score of 67 percent based on 260 reviews, while audiences rated it at 71 percent. Unfortunately, Napoleon‘s Rotten Tomatoes score is much of the same.

As of the writing of this article, Napoleon is still playing in theaters after premiering on November 22. So far, the epic historical drama film has earned $78.8 million worldwide against a $200 million budget. Unlike Phoenix’s other 2023 movie, Napoleon isn’t expected to be a box office failure despite its mixed reviews from critics. The overall consensus is that the film’s battle sequences, storytelling, and performances were exceptional, but it contained numerous distracting historical inaccuracies (and a long runtime). Napoleon‘s Rotten Tomatoes score sits at 61 percent based on 225 reviews, and its audience score is 60 percent. Related: How Old Napoleon Bonaparte Is At The Beginning & End Of The Movie

Joker 2 May Not Fix Joaquin Phoenix’s Rotten Tomatoes Scores

Joaquin Phoenix's Joker looking serious in full makeup

Sadly, Phoenix’s 2024 might not improve his Rotten Tomatoes scores after his disappointing showings in 2023. Following Beau Is Afraid and Napoleon, the actor is set to star in Joker: Folie à Deux, which premieres on October 4, 2024. The highly anticipated sequel to the 2019 film Joker will undoubtedly result in impressive box office numbers. However, critics might be as divisive over the upcoming movie as with Phoenix’s 2023 projects. Even though Joker was a massive success and earned Phoenix his first Oscar, its Rotten Tomatoes score is only 69 percent. Perhaps its sequel’s score will look the same (or even worse) due to varying opinions about the movie.


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