Studios can't just glide along on the profits from their existing franchises: They need to create new blockbuster series. Sometimes it works: Last year's THE HUNGER GAMES is a perfect example. Other times, it fails spectacularly. Last year brought three of such bombs: JOHN CARTER, BATTLESHIP, and TOTAL RECALL. If you look at the numbers TOTAL RECALL looks to have lost the most money and BATTLESHIP was the one that the Razzies decided to pick on (it isn't actually a bad movie, by the way), but JOHN CARTER is the phrase that now signifies a colossal big budget failure. Do we have a new movie to take that title?
Yes, I am talking about JACK THE GIANT SLAYER. On paper, it probably looked good. It has a great cast, it is from the director of X-MEN and X2, and it has the same early March release date that made ALICE IN WONDERLAND pass a billion dollars in 2010. But with five days to go until its release date, things are looking terrible.
According to ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, it is looking at a $25 million gross, which is lower that CARTER and BATTLESHIP opened to. That would be bad enough for a movie with a production budget of under $180 million, but factor into it how much Warner Bros. is spending on marketing. It was originally supposed to open last June, but they bumped it to 2013 for a variety of reasons (probably it just wasn't completed). Every week they release a new trailer and poster (like JOHN CARTER, then even changed the title part way though marketing from GIANT-KILLER to GIANT-SLAYER), which is the same last ditch effort they employed with GREEN LANTERN in 2011. And just look at how many commercial are running? There is no way a $25 million gross is going to pay those fees off!
Apparently (according to ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, at least) the problem is that it has a PG-13 rating, but seems to be more family oriented. I guess the hope was to get both the CHRONICLES OF NARNIA and SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN audiences, but it appears they lost both.
Also, the following weeks are packed. Seven days later you get OZ: THE GREAT AND POWERFUL, which means a gigantic second weekend drop for JACK. Plus, the next month brings THE CROODS, OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN, and GI JOE: RETALIATION.
So, will this movie surprise, or will it be the first big bomb of 2013?