There is a message being painfully delivered from film-goers to Hollywood Studios, but it’s not quite clear what that message means for Legend of Tarzan. Last weekends “Memorial Day Massacre” at the Box Office saw X-Men Apocalypse win the weekend but open below expectations at $79M, while Alice Through the Looking Glass opened weakly at $33M and dropped a whopping 66% to $10.6M this weekend. Now comes Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2, another sequel, — staggering to a “win” at $35M.
Meanwhile the romantic drama Me Before You exceeded expectations at $18.6M — not bad for a $20M film.
What does it mean?
Has Hollywood made a major miscalculation?
“In 2014, people were running out to see Ninja Turtles out of nostalgia for the past movies and the TV show,” says Jeff Bock, box office analyst for Exhibitor Relations. “But the fans are clearly not as enthusiastic about one movie every two years. This is a lesson for Hollywood, which is suffering with sequels this summer.”
Me Before You managed only a 55% score at Rotten Tomatoes but had an A cinemascore with audiences. According toPaul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore, Me Before You “was a true bright spot in this weekend’s box-office derby that clearly struck a chord with audiences looking for something completely different from the typical summer fare. This paid off big.”
Now . . . .let’s think about Legend of Tarzan.
First of all — LOT is not a sequel. And with 32 years having elapsed since Greystoke, the last live action major release Tarzan, is it even a reboot? Not really. I think a reboot has to happen at least within a generation of the original. But then on the other hand – it seems questionable to think of it as neither a reboot or a sequel when it will be the 53rd Tarzan movie. But does any of that matter to the millenials and younger who have to get motivated to go out and support it? (The fortysomethings and up can help, but they can’t carry it.)
I just don’t know.
Next weekend doesn’t look like it will cure the malaise, with Now You See Me 2 and The Conjuring 2, plus Warcraft will likely open in the high 20’s to the low 40’s and not change the narrative. Then comes Finding Dory, which should crack the $100M barrier and regalvanize the box office and maybe lay to rest some of the sequelitis . . . . then comes Independence Day Resurgence, looking a little soft . . . and then it’s Tarzan/BFG/The Purge.
Somewhere in all of this it feels like there could be an opening for big, romantic, old school Legend of Tarzan overperform just like small, romantic You Before Me did this weekend. Or am I just wishin’ and hopin’ ?
Well, we’re four weeks out.
Plenty of time to fret.