Posted on Monday, March 9th, 2015 by Germain Lussier
If you haven’t been to the movies much this year, you aren’t alone. So far, Hollywood’s 2015 offerings have been pretty lackluster. Kingsman: The Secret Service and Paddington are rare exceptions amiss a slew of big budget movies that have either been terrible, or that just underperformed terribly. Some examples are Jupiter Ascending, Seventh Son, Strange Magic, Blackhat, Mortdecai and Focus.
But it this different than usual? January and February are traditionally two of the weakest months both in terms of box office and critical acclaim. Well, it turns out this year has been historically bad. Pajiba lined up the domestic grosses of the January and February releases, juxtaposed with their rumored budgets, to figure out how much money Hollywood has lost this year. And it’s a lot. Read more about the 2015 box office bombs below.
Full credit to Pajiba for this idea and legwork. This is only based on domestic box office grosses, which were then subtracted from their rumored budgets.
Jupiter Ascending (-$127 million)
Seventh Son (-$79 million)
Blackhat (-$63 million)
Mortdecai (-$63 million)
Strange Magic (-$30 million, estimated)
Pompeii (-$77 million)
The Legend of Hercules (-$52 million)
Winter’s Tale (-$48 million)
I, Frankenstein (-$46 million)
Robocop (-$42 million)
What about the years before that? The losses in 2013 were $138 million, 2012 was $76 million and 2011 was $115 million. So the difference between 2015 and previous years is staggering. (Jupiter Ascending was an expensive movie.)
Again, these numbers were reached by taking the rumored budgets of the film (or an estimated one in terms of Strange Magic) and subtracting the domestic box office gross. It should also be noted most of these movies are still in theaters, so the number will drop a little bit.
Let’s break this down a bit. First, this math is a bit biased. It doesn’t count the big hits so far this year like Fifty Shades of Gray and The Spongebob Movie. (Nor does it count hits in previous years.). In the case of 50 Shades, the film cost only $40 million and is over $500 million internationally. That balances some of the overall numbers. On the other hand, it only accounts for January and February movies. This week’s new releases, Chappie and Unfinished Business, continued this downward trend. So just be aware this isn’t absolute or locked in. It’s just an interesting note.
The question becomes, is there a reason for this crazy change? That’s the weird part. There isn’t anything obvious. The fact Summer and Winter this year are so stacked might be a culprit, with studios saving their bigger and hopefully better movies for traditionally better months. Then again, it’s been proved time and time again that a release date doesn’t always make a movie. Sometimes it can kill it if there’s too much competition. Other times, a non-traditional release date will help a movie thrive. Look at last year’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier or American Sniper‘s slow roll out. Lack of competition in those months helped boost their grosses.
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