Diana Naomi Watts
Naomi Watts as Princess Diana in Diana. Entertainment One

Following Helen Mirren's career-defining performance as the Queen, award-magnet Meryl Streep's turn as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady and Colin Firth's starring role as stuttering King George in The King's Speech, 2013's Diana biopic seemed like a surefire hit.

With the incredibly talented Naomi Watts in the title role and Oliver Hirschbiegel, director of Adolf Hitler drama Downfall, at the helm, success, and awards seemed inevitable for the forthcoming awards season. It was not.

One critic, The Telegraph's Tom Robey, called the movie, which focuses on the princess's affair with heart surgeon Dr Hasnat Khan "a special class of awful," adding: "It's a fairly appalling testament to the movie that you don't come away mourning any aspect of the real Princess of Wales."

Diana was a flop with critics, sitting on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes with a rating of just 8%, but also a commercial failure. Taking just shy of $22 million (£17m) worldwide and only $335,000 in the US.

It made most of its money in the UK of course, as well as France and Australia, but remained a catastrophic failure in almost every regard.

Of course, films suffer bad reviews all the time and go on to do wonders at the box office, but that's a rule that primarily applies to blockbusters with mass appeal rather than dramas pitched as arty and thoughtful.

Come awards season and the release of prestige pictures hoping to net a slew of nominations at the Academy Awards, Baftas and more, audiences react to quality more so than at any other time of the year. Good word of mouth can convert to tremendous success, but the opposite can kill any film.

Only a few short months after its release in September 2013, Watts spoke out against the film, telling Harper's Bazaar (via Vanity Fair): "I got seduced by the fantastic character."

"Diana did a lot of things that had positive and negative results. She was multifaceted... But ultimately there were problems [with the film] and it ended up taking a direction that was not the one I was hoping for."

"With risk there is every chance it's going to fail. If you have to go down with that sinking ship, so be it."

It certainly didn't help that in the lead up the film's release, Khan, Diana's former lover and a lead character in the film played by Naveen Andrews, described the film as "completely wrong".

"I don't see this movie doing well at all," he said prophetically. "It is based on gossip and Diana's friends talking about a relationship that they didn't know much about, and some of my relatives who didn't know much about it either. It is all based on hypotheses and gossip."

The film is set during the final years of her life and focuses on her Princess's relationship with Khan. It doesn't feature Prince Charles, her ex-husband, and her children Princes William and Harry are barely seen either.

The omission of this side of Diana's life - the side that garnered the most attention and defined her in the public eye - doesn't mean the film couldn't have succeeded as an artistic work or commercially, but it certainly wouldn't have helped when bad word of mouth started to spread.

Diana (the film) just didn't tell a story people were interested in seeing on the big screen. Sure, they were interested in reading about in tabloids back in the mid-90s, but what people remember now isn't her later loves but the failed marriage with Charles.

That's the story people want, and surely one day the story will head to the big screen.