Sydney Sweeney Says ‘Madame Web’ Was a ‘Business Decision’ That Set Up Relationships at Sony: ‘Because I Did That,’ I Got ‘Anyone but You’ Sold

Sydney Sweeney said in a recent interview with GQ UK that starring in Sony’s “Madame Web” was a “strategic business decision” that more or less paid off despite the film being one of the year’s most infamous box office flops. In Sweeney’s eyes, “Madame Web” got her in the door at Sony Pictures and that’s where she was able to have a massive box office success with the romantic comedy “Anyone but You.”

“To me, that film was a building block, it’s what allowed me to build a relationship with Sony,” Sweeney told the publication. “Without doing ‘Madame Web’ I wouldn’t have a relationship with the decision-makers over there. Everything in my career I do not just for that story, but strategic business decisions. Because I did that, I was able to sell ‘Anyone but You.’ I was able to get ‘Barbarella.’”

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“Madame Web” was widely panned by film critics earlier this year and it flopped at the box office, where it still hasn’t crossed the $100 million mark worldwide. It’s a far cry from the hit Sweeney delivered with “Anyone but You,” a romantic comedy co-starring Glen Powell that opened in December and generated $214 million worldwide for Sony Pictures. Sweeney said she was able to get “Anyone but You” off the ground because of the Sony connections she made from signing on to “Madame Web.” She’s also developing a “Barbarella” remake at Sony that she is expected to star in.

“[‘Madame Web’] is such a large movie with so many people involved,” Sweeney added to GQ UK about the superhero flop. “I was just hired as an actor and happy to bring to life a character that my little cousins are excited about. There’s no outcome I can control on a film like that, especially when I’m not a producer. You sign up for whatever happens and you take the ride…There’s definitely a different formula when you’re making a film like that, that was very different from what I’m used to.”

Sweeney starred in “Madame Web” as Julia Cornwall, an iteration of Spider-Woman. The film sets up Julia for future films where she can be a superhero, and Sweeney had this to say when asked about returning to the role: “I think that if the story is right and you have the right team, I would love to.”

During a recent interview with Variety, Sweeney stressed that she wants to continue to act in films that she also produces so that she can have some of the authority that she lacked on a project like “Madame Web.”

“I want to be as involved in the process for any project moving forward that I possibly can,” she said. “I love being in the room to be able to problem-solve, and come up with ideas. It’s so important to have multiple people at the table instead of just one — everybody who can be collaborative and truly help build a project. It takes everybody. On ‘Madame Web,’ it was so hard not being able to be as involved as I love being. And I felt very free with ‘Anyone but You’ and ‘Immaculate’ being able to have that.”

“Madame Web” became such a punching bag on social media after its release that Sweeney herself joked about it on “Saturday Night Live” (“You definitely didn’t see me in ‘Madame Web,’” she said), while Jimmy Kimmel even had a “Madame Web” dig in his monologue at the Oscars.

“The people in this room somehow managed to come up with so many excellent films and memorable performances,” Kimmel said. “This night is full of enormous talent, and untold potential, but so was ‘Madame Web.’”

Sweeney’s “Madame Web” co-star Dakota Johnson told Bustle earlier this month that the reception to the movie did not come as a shock.

“It was definitely an experience for me to make that movie,” Johnson said. “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. 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” continues to play in theaters nationwide from Sony. Sweeney’s new film, “Immaculate,” opens in theaters March 22 from Neon.

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