Not every comic book movie is guaranteed to be a success at the box office. Sometimes a project will underperform, and once in a while you get something that really tanks on all levels. In 2010, that was Jonah Hex, bringing the famous DC Comics cowboy to the big screen for the first time. Earning almost universally negative reviews, it didn’t even make a fourth of its budget back, making it one of the biggest comic book movie bombs ever. Well, not to worry, fans, you weren’t the only one who didn’t enjoy Jonah Hex. Star Josh Brolin had a terrible time making it, too.
During his recent appearance on The Nerdist Podcast, Brolin explained to the hosts how the Jonah Hex movie he ended up shooting was not what he imagined it would be, and believes it would have been more successful with a smaller budget. In his words:
The experience of making it — that would have been a better movie based on what we did. As opposed to what ended up happening to it, which is going back and reshooting 66 pages in 12 days and that being… Listen, I understand it's financiers. You’re trying to save their money, and it becomes a financial thing. … I remember when I was talking to Warner Bros. about doing that movie, ‘High Plains Drifter’ is what I put on the TV, I said, ‘That’s what I wanna do.’ I would do that movie still. If I ever had the balls to spend $5 million, which I don’t, I would do that movie, 'cause that’s the version of that movie that would have been successful, for sure. And it didn’t need to cost anything more than $8-$10 million.
Jonah Hex’s budget ended up being around $47 million, and considering how poorly it was received, that definitely wasn't a good investment. Those reshoots also weren’t a good indicator, reminiscent of what the recent Fantastic Four reboot went through. While Westerns haven’t been the most popular movie genre in recent years, I can’t help but think that Brolin’s approach would have resulted in a better product. Jonah Hex might not be DC’s most well known hero, but like any character adapted outside of the comics, his story deserved to be told right. Combined with a better script, at the very least, Brolin’s version of Jonah Hex might have broken even.
Like the comic book incarnation, Josh Brolin’s Jonah Hex was a disfigured former Confederate soldier now making his living as a bounty hunter. In addition to being a crack shot and skilled fighter, Brolin’s version also had the ability to temporarily resurrect and communicate with the dead. While there are elements of fantasy in some Jonah Hex stories, the movie nevertheless felt too outlandish and ridiculous. Fortunately for Hex, he’s getting a shot at live-action redemption soon. Played by Ray Donovan’s Johnathon Schaech, he’ll appear in Episode 11 of The CW’s Legends of Tomorrow, and when the protagonists meet him, they’ll discover he’s already had experience with time travel.
As for Josh Brolin, he’s having a much better comic book experience playing Thanos in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Having already cameoed in Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers: Age of Ultron, Brolin’s Thanos will be fully unleashed in the Avengers: Infinity War movies in 2018 and 2019. We still don’t what exactly to expect from those movies, but one thing is for certain: they can’t perform any worse than Jonah Hex did.