$150 million is a big figure… a very, very big figure. But Hollywood studios, in the past, have generously approved those sort of figures for the production budgets of blockbuster flicks that we love so dearly. The underlying assumption while taking this gamble is that these movies will end up earning way more than that! With the reach of Hollywood getting wider across the globe, many of these gambles turn out to be hugely profitable. But there are quite a few that fail, and none could fail any more miserably than this weekend’s Pan. The movie barely earned $15.5 million over the weekend in North America which is about a tenth of its production budget, while it managed $40.6 million worldwide. For a movie that probably needs something above $450 million worldwide to be deemed profitable, this kind of a start hardly helps. Pan had received a backlash even before its release on the casting of Rooney Mara as a Native American, and then the rather dismal reviews did not help either. The star-power of Hugh Jackman was not enough to attract the audience to the origins story of sorts of Peter Pan. The movie will surely feature in any ‘biggest flops’ list compiled at the end of the year, but what is worse is the fact that Pan has the lowest domestic opening even amongst other under-performers with more than $100 million production budgets: Jupiter Ascending ($18.4 million), Fantastic Four ($25.7 million), Terminator: Genisys ($27.0 million) and Tomorrowland ($33.0 million). I do not expect Pan to find the kind of success that Terminator: Genisys did outside North America; so what it essentially means is that any other adaptation on the famous Peter Pan story might just have been pushed back by a decade!
Alongside the opening of Pan was the expansion of Robert Zemeckis’ The Walk. While the reviews for this biopic have been truly fantastic, it has somehow not been able to attract enough audience in North America (weak marketing?). Last weekend’s only-Imax release had been lackluster, and now the addition of more than 2,000 theatres hasn’t helped much in terms of box-office performance. In all, The Walk has barely earned $6.3 million in North America, and something similar overseas, which makes for a worldwide tally of $13.5 million so far. The movie though has a modest production budget of only $35 million, and a stronger foreign run might just about save it. But as far as North America is concerned, the movie stands doomed.
So where is the audience going if not for the new releases? Oh well, they still seem to love the movies that have come in the previous weeks as reflected in the low weekend-to-weekend drops: The Martian by 32%, Hotel Transylvania 2 by 39%, The Intern by 26%, Sicario by 40%, and Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials by 33%. The Martian is doing amazingly well in North America having crossed $100 million already and certainly headed for a $200 million plus tally which would be more than the domestic earnings of Interstellar. Internationally too the movie’s performance remains strong with $228 million earned worldwide so far. Still early days! Hotel Transylvania 2 is another success story of recent weeks; it has earned $208 million worldwide till now, and is doing better than its predecessor. The Intern can soon be called a hit with $107 million already in the bag worldwide, as against its production budget of $40 million. Sicario has grossed a little more than $43 million worldwide which is a decent figure for a crime action film made on a production budget of $30 million; I hope the movie manages to double that tally by the end of its theatrical run and become profitable, because such fantastic movies deserve nothing less!
Here are the top 5 weekend earners at the US box-office (estimates):
1. The Martian ($37.0 million; second weekend)
2. Hotel Transylvania 2 ($20.3 million; third weekend)
3. Pan ($15.5 million)
4. The Intern ($8.7 million; third weekend)
5. Sicario ($7.4 million; fourth weekend)