It’s not often that Hollywood releases two major theatrical bombs on the same weekend. But that’s exactly what happened when “Jupiter Ascending” and “Seventh Son” both crashed in U.S. theaters on Friday.
Warner Bros.’ “Jupiter Ascending,” starring Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis, has fallen in box office estimates to a scrawny $18 million opening. With a budget of $175 million, the Wachowskis’ sci-fi tentpole could lose tens of millions barring a dramatic turnaround overseas, in what might be the biggest flop of the year.
The forecast for Universal and Legendary’s long-delayed “Seventh Son,” starring Jeff Bridges, isn’t much brighter. The fantasy tentpole has a projected loss of $85 million, as Variety exclusively reported this week, despite earning $82 million at the international box office. It’s on track for just $6 million in its U.S. debut.
Neither of the box office casualties are a shock — both films were delayed long ago due to poor tracking and overall bad buzz, and Paramount’s “The Spongebob Movie,” which is soaking up $53 million this weekend, was originally projected to top the weekend. Still, the lousy ticket sales are a huge blow to investors and, of course, the filmmakers.
The Wachowski siblings, masterminds of 1999’s “The Matrix,” have yet to find commercial or critical success since the Keanu Reeves trilogy. Their previous two efforts, “Cloud Atlas” and “Speed Racer,” made a combined $67 million domestically.
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The stylish filmmakers assumed that heartthrob Channing Tatum could attract more younger viewers to “Jupiter Ascending.” But Tatum is barely recognizable in the 3D film, looking more like an elf than a sexy bounty hunter.
The sci-fi space opera earned a B- Cinemascore from moviegoers and a not-so-fresh 22% rating on RottenTomatoes.
WB had originally scheduled “Jupiter” for a prime summer release last July before pulling the plug six weeks prior to “complete special effects,” but the word on the film was extremely negative.
Jeff Bridges, meanwhile, is experiencing his own financial follies of late. The “Seventh Son” actor’s last two wide releases, “R.I.P.D.” and “The Giver,” both disappointed at the U.S. box office. Ironically, the last time two tentpoles flopped simultaneously was in 2013 when his “R.I.P.D.” co-star, Ryan Renolds, had another movie tanking on the same weekend (“Turbo”).
“Seventh Son,” directed by Sergei Bodrov, began filming in March 2012 and was always pegged to land with a whimper, having changed its release date four different times. Co-starring Julianne Moore and Ben Barnes, the movie is based on Joseph Delaney’s literary series “The Spook’s Apprentice,” about a young hero with magical abilities.
Next week, Universal’s “Fifty Shades of Grey” will ignite what has been an otherwise chilly winter at the box office. Despite Warner Bros.’ smash hit “American Sniper,” several movies have tanked domestically, including Johnny Depp’s “Mortdecai” and Michael Mann’s “Blackhat,” starring Chris Hemsworth.