Space Ramblings

Summer of Blockbuster Failures

Four underperforming comic book movies. A Conan reboot that bombed. And a whole lot of other underformers made this the summer of blockbuster failures.

Now most of these movies haven’t really lost money or not as much it seems, but they’re still failures. Cowboys and Aliens was a major failure, but it could have been worse. At least it wasn’t Conan. Captain America pulled in a hefty enough international box office that its mediocre domestic performance didn’t hurt too badly… but it wasn’t much good either. X-Men First Class didn’t even make it that far and took in most of its money from foreign box office. Green Lantern barely passed a 100 mil. Even Thor which was supposed to be a winner didn’t pass 200 mil and that puts it right up there with Wolverine.

There were some winners. The awful Apes kept its budget low and profited big even though its box office total isn’t that fantastic. Harry Potter minted money for its last film. But the Smurfs were so-so in America taking in its cash internationally (not a surprise, Tintin will do the same.) Transformers 3 made plenty of money but didn’t match Transformers 2. Not a good trajectory.

The sequels? Final Destination 5, Spy Kids Whatever didn’t live up to franchise box office total. The Hangover II scored plenty of cash despite or maybe because it was the same movie.

Pirates of the Caribbean 4 underperformed in the US but took insane amounts of money internationally. And I mean insane. We’re talking over a 100 million in Japan. That’s half of what the movie made in the US. 63 million in Russia. 54 million in the UK. 70 million in China. So this franchise isn’t going anywhere no matter how Americans neglect it.

But the American box office is weakening and the business models will have to change. Throwing a ton of cash at a tentpole has become a better strategy internationally than at home.

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