The Real Reason Killers Of The Flower Moon Flopped At The Box Office

“Killers of the Flower Moon” is a genuine star-studded affair, featuring Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Jesse Plemons, Brendan Fraser, John Lithgow, and more. That’s a whole lot of Oscar winners and nominees in one film. It features a career-defining performance from Lily Gladstone, whose character Mollie falls for DiCaprio’s greedy Ernest. And as compelling as the film’s premise is, which focuses on the various murders that plague the oil-wealthy Osage nation in the 1920s, “Killers of the Flower Moon” is marketable primarily because of its cast. 

It features heavyweights like DiCaprio and De Niro in leading roles, but it also features Gladstone and a whole slew of Indigenous actors who weren’t able to promote the picture because of the SAG-AFTRA strike. The actor’s strike, which kicked off in July 2023, forbids actors from promoting or marketing any of their projects. Because of this, Gladstone and her castmates weren’t allowed to promote the film in interviews, during press junkets, or on late-night programs. 

While Martin Scorsese certainly tried his best to promote the film on programs like “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” the director doesn’t have the same recognizability or clout as DiCaprio or De Niro. Seeing as this is the first film of Scorsese’s that both regulars are starring in together, one can only imagine how interviews of the duo bantering would have gone viral. Beyond that, no promotion meant no opportunity for the film’s (primarily Indigenous) actors to discuss just how important the film is when it regarding the tragedy the Osage nation suffered. “Killers of the Flower Moon” is essential viewing if you’re interested in America’s shameful past, but it’s disappointing that the Osage actors couldn’t convey this information prior to its release because of the strike. 

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