After a turbulent experience filming his 2007 sci-fi epic Sunshine, Danny Boyle said "no director who has ever been in space ever goes back to space unless he's got to do a sequel". As Boyle so poetically put it sci-fi is a hard genre to get right perhaps because of the logistical challenges involved or asking an audience to suspend their disbelief in farfetched worlds. Whatever the reason it ultimately means science fiction films can be a Marmite affair.
This divisiveness in sci-fi films often manifests itself in the form of a polarised audience - half loving it and half hating it - or a gaping divide between the critics and an audience which seems to be more prominent than ever. Perhaps this is because the genre, more than any other, features both the lowbrow (Independence Day, Armageddon) and the highbrow (2001: A Space Odyssey, Solaris) and can alienate both audience and critics simultaneously by either being "intimidating" or "cheesy".
From Tenet's ridiculously complex story which attempted to explain time inversion to a baffled audience to Equilibrium's dystopian landscape which critics trashed for copying The Matrix, these are the most divisive sci-fi films of the 21st century.
Gareth Edwards' Monsters essentially took the plot to War of the Worlds (a story of aliens landing on Earth and the war that ensues) but filmed it almost like a documentary from the survivor's point of view and did so on an extraordinary micro budget of $500,000.
While it was lauded by critics for its economic storytelling on its low budget and its fresh take on the age old alien invasion story, Monsters failed to find any love at the box office where it took a measly $4 million. Despite one critic even comparing the direction of the film to that of Steven Spielberg and Francis Ford Coppola the lack of star power and word of mouth meant that the film fizzled out of cinemas rather quickly.
The reason for this lack of box office could be attributed to audience's seeming disinterest with the film as reflecting in the average audience score on Rotten Tomatoes which noted only 54% positive reviews compared to the higher 73% score among critics. However, time has been kinder to Monsters as it has a devoted cult following, launched the career of Edwards who went on to direct Godzilla and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and even spawned a (fairly mediocre) sequel.