*You know the story: You read a bad review of a movie, book or TV show, and then it goes on to become a big hit. It happens all the time. And even though professional criticism does hold weight, it isn’t the final say on what goes on to be successful and what doesn’t. Here are great examples of when critics turned out to be wrong:
Book: “The Grapes of Wrath”
Now John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath” is largely considered to be the quintessential novel about the Great Depression. But when it was first published, critics and the public alike found it too, well, depressing and exaggerated. Libraries and schools banned it. Some even claimed it was communist propaganda. But that soon changed. Eleanor Roosevelt praised it. The book went on to win a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award, two of literature’s highest honors. Steinbeck was even awarded the Nobel Prize in 1962, in part because of this book.
Even today, 77 years after it was published in 1939, the book is largely considered to be one of the best novels of all time. More than 14 million copies have been sold. It’s estimated that 100,000 copies are purchased every year.
Broadway Play: “Les Miserables”
One of the most celebrated French musicals of the past century was also not well-liked at first. It was famously panned when it opened in the 1980s in London. One critic described it as witless, synthetic entertainment. Another said the three-hour musical was like “attempting to pour the entire Channel through a China teapot.” But the public enjoyed it. So much so, that it’s estimated that over 60 million people in more than 42 countries have seen it. And it now has the status of one of the longest-running shows in Broadway history. If you’d like to see for yourself, purchase tickets to see this now acclaimed show and see that the critics aren’t always right.
Film: “The Shining”
Stanley Kubrick is thought of as one of Hollywood’s best directors of all time. And today, his film “The Shining” is seen as a fine example of his creative work. But that wasn’t always the case. When it debuted in 1980, critical reviews were lukewarm. Film trade publication Variety said that Kubrick and star Jack Nicholson destroyed the scariest parts of the original story by Stephen King.
King himself described the movie as a Cadillac without an engine and one could only admire it as sculpture. This also was one of the few films of Kubrick’s that didn’t receive a single Oscar nomination. But time has been kind to “The Shining.” The film frequently lands on the greatest horror films lists. British newspaper The Guardian dubbed it as the fifth best horror film of all time.