Studio Tentpoles are hurting this summer

Left to right: Optimus Prime and Bumblebee in TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT, from Paramount Pictures.

There’s no denying the power that Rotten Tomatoes has on making or breaking a studio tentpole.

This is something that we’ve been seeing at the box office since the summer movie season started.  Studio tentpoles aren’t critic-proof no matter how many times these actors or filmmakers say that it wasn’t made for the critics.  Critics are people, too.  The first thing I ask myself when I start to write a screenplay is whether it’s a project that can draw critical acclaim.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was so popular that I’m ignoring the first weekend of May.  It was recieved well by both fans and critics alike.

The second weekend, May 12-14, saw the wide releases of King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (28%) and Snatched (36%).

Produced on a budget of $175 million, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword could never recover after getting slammed by the critics.  It’s total take to date is a bit over $38 million after a disastrous $15.3 million opening weekend.  Not even the international box office is helping Warner Bros. recoup their loss on this film.

Produced on a budget of $42 million, Snatched has made just over $45 million at the box office after a $19.5 million opening weekend.  The large majority of the money was earned in May.

The following weekend, May 19-21, saw Alien: Covenant get release.  It was Certified Fresh with 71%.  After taking in $36.1 million during its opening, the film has brought in $73 million in the states.  Produced on a $97 million budget, the studio is making its money back in international territories.

Memorial Day weekend saw the releases of both Baywatch and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.  Both were hit with negative reviews all around.  Baywatch has made $56 million stateside but the only question is whether or not its foreign earnings will help greenlight a sequel.  Pirates is making all of the studio’s money back in foreign territories.  The Johnny Depp franchise just isn’t what it used to be.

Wonder Woman is the gift that keeps on giving for the WB.  Where King Arthur was an epic disaster, the Amazonian has been the surprise of the summer.  It could very well end the summer with some $400-500 million in the bank.

The Mummy was a disaster for Universal in the US but it made its money back overseas.

Rough Night was made for $20 million.  Sony should be able to make their money back in the States but it’s not a title that’s selling well in the foreign markets.  The budget for Cars 3 isn’t available but as long as there are children’s movies in the market, there will be butts in the seats.  Still, it’s not Pixar’s best franchise.

This weekend saw the release of Transformers: The Last Knight.  Paramount is going to look to foreign markets to earn their $217 budget back because it won’t be coming from the US.

Next weekend will more indie style fare being released than tentpole fare at the box office aside from Despicable Me 3.



Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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