A Terrible Charlize Theron Comedy Is Somehow Trending On Streaming

Charlize Theron's Western comedy A Million Ways to Die in the West is trending on HBO Max.

By Matthew Creith | Published

Writer and director Seth MacFarlane scored big box office numbers and positive reviews from critics for his first feature film, Ted. However, his sophomore effort, A Million Ways to Die in the West, starred Charlize Theron and was not as well-received by critics and audiences when it was released in 2014. The western, however, has been trending on streaming platforms as of late as FlixPatrol reports the terrible comedy has reached fourth place in the top ten on HBO Max this week.

A Million Ways to Die in the West premiered in theaters on May 30, 2014, directed by and starring Seth MacFarlane, who had become well-known for creating the Fox television series Family Guy. Starring Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, Giovanni Ribisi, Neil Patrick Harris, Sarah Silverman, and Liam Neeson, A Million Ways to Die in the West was MacFarlane’s attempt to paint the Western movie genre as a comedic trope. Co-written by MacFarlane’s frequent collaborators Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild, the movie was filmed on location in New Mexico and is, to date, the last movie made by MacFarlane.

Seth MacFarlane stars in A Million Ways to Die in the West as Albert Stark, a good-natured sheepherder who believes that the American frontier brings inherent dangers everywhere, having seen lesser men die at the hands of other men, nature and everything in between. Charlize Theron plays gunfighter Anna Barnes-Leatherwood, who helps Albert learn how to outsmart her husband, Clinch (Liam Neeson), when the two go head-to-head in a battle of wits. The film is notable for its gratuitous jokes and cameos that include Jamie Foxx, Ryan Reynolds, Bill Maher, Ewan McGregor, and Kaley Cuoco.

By the time A Million Ways to Die in the West was released, South African-American actor Charlize Theron was known for hit dramatic films that included her Academy Award-winning performance as serial killer Aileen Wuornos in the 2003 biographical movie, Monster. Taking roles in dark dramas like The Burning Plain and fantasy films like 2012’s Snow White and the Huntsman, Theron had not been an actor audiences turned to for comedic performances. However, her turn in A Million Ways to Die in the West sparked a slew of appearances in comedy and action projects that have so far amounted to the Seth Rogen entry Long Shot and playing Cipher in the Fast & Furious franchise.

However, A Million Ways to Die in the West did not live up to the hype that mamy moviegoers had expected from Charlize Theron and Seth MacFarlane after the success of MacFarlane’s directorial debut, Ted. While the 2012 comedy starring Mark Wahlberg, Mina Kunis, and a talking teddy bear scored a hefty box office haul when it was released, A Million Ways to Die in the West wasn’t as lucky. Ted ended up grossing over $549 million at the box office against a budget of around $65 million, while A Million Ways to Die in the West came in at approximately $80 million against a budget of $40 million.

Critics and audiences were pretty much on the same page when it came to the negative reviews for the Charlize Theron comedy. Rotten Tomatoes currently ranks A Million Ways to Die in the West with a paltry 33% on its Tomatometer based on 213 critics’ reviews, as well as an Audience Score of 41% based on over 50,000 ratings from verified users to the site. Similarly, Metacritic reflects a Metascore of 44 based on 43 critics’ reviews and a User Score of 5.3 based on 363 ratings from moviegoers, which typically denotes a mixed or average rating from critics and audiences.

Unfortunately for Seth MacFarlane and his movie, A Million Ways to Die in the West, accolades for the film did not help matters regarding its performance in theaters. At the 2015 Golden Rasberry Awards, MacFarlane was nominated for Worst Actor and Worst Director, while he and Charlize Theron shared Worst Screen Combo, and Theron earned a nomination for Worst Actress. While neither performer took home a trophy for their work at the annual event that honors the worst of cinematic incompetence, A Million Ways to Die in the West currently seems to be finding its audience eight years later via streaming on HBO Max.