Vin Diesel’s Worst Movie Is Climbing Fast On Streaming

Vin Diesel's The Chronicles of Riddick is climbing Netflix's Top 10 Movies chart.

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

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These days, if you mention franchises starring Vin Diesel, most people will think of the Fast & Furious movies. However, the most defining film for the actor has always been Chronicles of Riddick, the unexpected sequel to Pitch Black that placed Diesel’s creepy character front and center and didn’t exactly wow critics or audiences. But now that Chronicles of Riddick is streaming on Netflix, it seems to be winning new fans: FlixPatrol reports that this film broke into Netflix’s Top 10 this week.

In the original Pitch Black, Vin Diesel Riddick was more of a supporting character, but he stole every scene he was in and quickly won fans over. So while it was a surprise that we got a sequel to that first film in the first place, it was less of a surprise that the sequel focused on the most interesting character. Unfortunately, movie audiences at the time didn’t find the character or the film nearly as interesting as those making the movie were hoping.

The worldwide gross for the film stands somewhere between $107 and $115 million. That means the film grossed more than twice as much as Pitch Black did, but since the sequel was so expensive to create (its budget was somewhere between $105 and $120 million, which doesn’t include the added costs to market and distribute the film), it effectively lost money for Universal Pictures. Adding insult to injury was the fact that Vin Diesel earned $11 million dollars for the movie, so when the smoke cleared, it cost about ten percent of this movie’s worldwide gross simply to foot the bill for this rising Hollywood star.

Interestingly, nobody seems to be a bigger fan of Chronicles of Riddick than Vin Diesel himself, and he took a very personal hand in adding some of the wilder elements to the film. For example, the star is a big nerd for Dungeons & Dragons (hell, who isn’t at this point?), and his love of the game’s fantasy elements led him to introduce Elements into his film franchise. Vin Diesel also went out of his way to win Judi Dench over by buying her flowers so large they couldn’t fit into her dressing room, and this helped him bring one of the best actors in cinematic history to appear in his shlocky sci-fi film.

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Vin Diesel and Judi Dench in The Chronicles of Riddick

While we love shlock over here, Vin Diesel’s Chronicles of Riddick didn’t exactly wow critics when it was first released back in 2004. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film currently has a 29 percent, with critics calling the movie out for being a disappointing sequel to Pitch Black. Notably, though, the film has a 65 percent audience score, which underscores the fact that it has gained a cult following of fans over the years (a following that is clearly growing, as we can see from its impressive recent ranking on Netflix).

In retrospect, one of the more fascinating things about this Vin Diesel film is that it had such a multimedia push. For example, there was an Xbox game called The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay that, unlike most movie-based video games, was pretty damned good and eventually got a solid sequel. And the same year the film premiered, we got an animated movie named The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury from Aeon Flux director Peter Chung.

Perhaps the only person who shares Vin Diesel’s love of this franchise is director David Twohy. He served as the writer and director of all three films in the franchise, and just last month, it was announced that he would write and direct a fourth film titled Riddick: Furya. And his director’s cuts of the films released so far are the definitive ways to watch each movie in all of its weird sci-fi glory.

Whether you’re a fan of Vin Diesel, science fiction, or both, there is no time like the present to stream Chronicles of Riddick on Netflix and discover what the hype is all about. And if you can manage to watch all three films in the franchise (the first and third films are also currently streaming on Netflix), you’ll be all caught up by the time the fourth movie drops. As for us, we’ll be busy crossing our fingers that Riddick’s voyage into the Underverse becomes an elaborate excuse to create a shared universe with the Fast & Furious franchise (let’s be honest: two Vin Diesels duking it out on the big screen would make it the most successful Riddick movie ever made).