Hollywood is obsessed with making Robin Hood and King Arthur movies, despite a run of box-office and critical disasters

Lionsgate
  • “Robin Hood” is now in theatres, the latest iteration of the classic tale to receive poor critical reviews, and it’s on track for a horrible week at the box office.
  • It’s the latest example of Hollywood being obsessed with the medieval stories of Robin Hood and King Arthur, despite negative response from audiences and critics alike.
  • Last year’s “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” could be an indicator of how poorly “Robin Hood” will do at the box office, and it didn’t even make back its production budget.
  • Sony is developing a “Robin Hood” spin-off starring Margot Robbie that focuses on the love interest, Marian, and more “Robin Hood”-inspired projects have been in development in recent years.

Audiences don’t care about them and critics despise them, but Hollywood is still obsessed with the medieval tales of Robin Hood and King Arthur.

The latest iteration of the former, Lionsgate’s “Robin Hood,” starring Taron Egerton, came to theatres on Wednesday, and the odds of success look slim. The movie has a dreadful 13% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes as of Wednesday morning, and it’s tracking between $US13 million and $US15 million for the five-day Thanksgiving weekend.

Even by Robin Hood and King Arthur standards, that’s poor.

The last “Robin Hood” in 2010, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Russell Crowe in the title role, made $US36 million in its opening weekend and went on to earn just $US105 million in the US. It performed better internationally, ending up with a total $US321 million worldwide off of a $US200 million production budget. Still, it didn’t quite warrant another reboot.

2004’s “King Arthur,” starring Clive Owen, made $US51 million in the US and $US203 million worldwide. It has a 31% Rotten Tomatoes critic score.


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But a better comparison to the newest Robin Hood might be last year’s “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword,” which made $US15 million in its opening, a normal three-day weekend. It also took an age-old story and “updated” it for modern audiences with a younger actor in the lead.

“Legend of the Sword” also received a 31% Rotten Tomatoes critic score, and made only $US148 million worldwide. Its production budget was $US175 million, meaning it was a certified bomb. If that’s any sign of what “Robin Hood” can look forward to, the movie is dead on arrival, especially with so much competition in theatres right now (“Creed II” and “Ralph Breaks the Internet” also debut this week).

The previous iterations of both “King Arthur” and “Robin Hood” performed modestly, and the follow-ups even worse (at least, that’s what “Robin Hood” is on track for this week). Despite that, another “Robin Hood” movie is in development from Sony, this time focusing on the love interest, Marian, played by Margot Robbie, who takes up Robin Hood’s cause after he dies.

In 2014, Disney acquired a Robin Hood-inspired spec script called “Nottingham & Hood,” which had a “aPirates Of The Caribbean’ tone,” according to Deadline. And The Hollywood Reporter reported in 2016 that the producers of “300” were developing a futuristic movie with the working title of “Robin Hood 2058.” Updates have been quiet since on both projects, but it highlights a strange attraction to this product.

It’s no surprise that Hollywood glues itself to a franchise once it performs well with audiences. We have five “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Transformers” movies because they’re massive hits worldwide despite abysmal reviews. But there’s nothing about the “Robin Hood” and “King Arthur” brands that make them uniquely appealing considering the performance of the most recent examples.

Maybe Hollywood will finally get the hint after this week.

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