To no one’s surprise, Warner Brothers’ ‘King Arthur: Legend of the Sword’ bombed HARD. The film was directed by Guy Ritchie, making this his second high-priced flop ($175 million production cost) for the studio, following last year’s ‘The Man From U.N.C.L.E.’ It’s also the second big budget flop for leading man Charlie Hunnam, best known as Jax from the hit show ‘Sons of Anarchy’ following ‘Pacific Rim’. BUT 47% of the folks that did turn out for this movie did so BECAUSE of Hunnam. So the fault isn’t on him. This also doesn’t help Village Roadshow, which is still smarting after last year’s ‘Ghostbusters’, ‘In The Heart of the Sea’ and ‘Passengers’.
Warner Brothers has been hurting since the ‘Harry Potter’ franchise wrapped. The DC Comics films and the first ‘Fantastic Beasts’ haven’t been the smashes that they had hoped for, so they continue to mine public domain properties (meaning that they don’t have to pay to use them) like ‘Red Riding Hood’ (which cost $42M to make, and earned $89M), ‘Pan’ ($150M to make, grossed $128M) and ‘Jack the Giant Slayer’ ($195M to make, grossed $197.7M).
‘King Arthur’ was a chore to get made from the get-go, and the first cut of the film was deemed a “trainwreck” by one insider.
To make things worse, this was intended to be the launch of a “shared universe” of movies, with more movies focusing on the various denizens of Camelot.
This film took about eight years to get made in the first place, with WB investing in various treatments from different writers and directors.
One film insider avowed:
“King Arthur should have been done for $60M-$80M. Warner Bros. had no reason to spend $175M-plus on this picture. Hell, even Jumanji with The Rock included cost way less. Logan cost $97.1M net. WTF was Warners thinking?…It’s just bad for the business.”
This bomb follows Jerry Bruckheimer’s ‘King Arthur’ (2004) for Disney which cost $120M to make and grossed a pitiful $51.9M domestically (but did make $203.6M worldwide). Maybe… just maybe… ‘King Arthur’ isn’t a concept that appeals to modern audiences. Just a guess.
‘King Arthur: Legend of the Sword’ was trashed by critics, ranking 27% on Rotten Tomatoes, but fared better with audiences, who gave it a B+ Cinema Score.
‘King Arthur’ not only fell behind the #1 movie, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2’, but the #2 movie, ‘Snatched’ a comedy starring Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn, which benefited from being the only major comedy in theaters right now and by appealing to women on this Mother’s Day weekend. But ‘Guardians’ by far outpaced any other movies this weekend.
- ‘Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2′ (Disney) – $63M
- ‘Snatched’ (20th Century Fox) – $17.5M
- ‘King Arthur: Legend of the Sword’ (Warner Brothers/Village Roadshow) – $14.7M
- The Fate of the Furious (Universal) – $5.3
- ‘The Boss Baby’ (20th Century Fox) – $4.6M
Overseas, ‘Alien: Covenant’ took in $42M, in advance of it’s U.S. opening next weekend. So far it’s gotten pretty good reviews, ranking 74% on Rotten Tomatoes. Also opening is ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul’, but that probably would have been better off going straight to video.
Honestly, I’m not sure how to predict the next few weeks. Things could be hit or miss. After next weekend, comes ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales’ and ‘Baywatch’. Does anyone really want another ‘Pirates’? And after ‘CHIPS’ flopped, another big screen reboot of an old TV show might sink.
Then again, there’s always ‘Wonder Woman’ on June 2.
Check back to see how things pan out.