JACK THE GIANT SLAYER could be a giant failure for Warner Bros

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Movies fail at the Box Office all the time. It’s a fact of life. Now when a Dredd or a Premium Rush makes $10 million short of their budget, it’s… well, it’s bad, but it could certainly be worse. Worse being the really expensive failures, such as most recently John Carter, Battleship, Cloud Atlas and Rise of the Guardians.
These movies are supposed to be “tentpoles” i.e. films so big in scope and revenue that they would hold up everything else that a studio produces, but unfortunately they held up the tent with the rigidity of a wet noodle.

And now it look’s like one more supposedly “giant” movie might just join that infamous list: Bryan Singer’s Jack the Giant Slayer.

One month since release, and despite reasonably decent reviews (like ours), audiences appear to have responded to the family friendly fairy tale with a giant “Meh”. According to THR‘s people, who are far better with numbers than I am, the film looks on track to peak at only about $60 million domestically and $140 million internationally.

That, if I carry the one, takes it to a $200 million total haul, which will just about cover the film’s production cost. Unfortunately, that still leaves all the cash that Warner Bros spent on its marketing campaign for the film unaccounted for. How much cash, you ask? Well, according to sources, Warner Bros could end up losing $125 to $140 million in the long run. Ouch!

That huge financial loss will have it slot in between John Carter and Battleship, which is a leader(loser?)board that you really don’t want to find yourself on. Warner Bros and New Line Cinema – who co-financed the film – were expecting a strong overseas response, but unfortunately it looks international audiences much rather preferred the magic landscapes of Oz the Great and Powerful and the magic muscles of G.I. Joe: Retaliation over a reworked kids story.

What’s interesting about this box office failure, is that Jack the Giant Slayer originally began life as Jack the Giant Killer, which would have had director Bryan Singer take a much more mature, R-rated approach to the reimagined fairy tale. But seeing as how a R-rating is a much harder sell to audiences, the violence was dialled back to allow it a much wider appeal. Well at least that was the theory.

New Line will probably not be hit by this too badly though, in fact, I’m not even sure if that they’re aware of Jack‘s box office dud, as they were probably still too busy counting all that Hobbit money – $1 billion plus at last count – to look up and notice. Also, Warner Bros can still recover their 2013 campaign with Man of Steel later in the year, which based on the overwhelmingly positive early buzz, should clean up at the box office. Well, they hope so.

Last Updated: April 5, 2013

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions - but very little sleep - I've been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

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