Photo: Warner Bros.
“Jack the Giant Slayer” was the latest high-budget film to bomb opening weekend. In what has been a six-week slump to the start of year, Warner Bros. fairytale-inspired film earned $27.2 million on a bloated $195 million budget.
Jack’s tumble from the box-office beanstalk shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.
The film not only changed its title months before opening, but also underwent changes in director and multiple delays ahead of its March release.
Here’s five other factors that contributed to the downfall of “Jack the Giant Slayer”:
1. Catered to the Wrong Audience:
Originally titled “Jack the Giant Killer,” a nod to the 1962 movie of the same name, “Jack” was supposed to be a grittier version of the fairytale for older audiences.
Photo: Warner Bros.
However, the studio opted for a more family-friendly name after the film was pushed back last year (more on that in a minute).
As a result, the film seems to have suffered from much of the same demographic issue as DreamWorks Animation’s recent “Rise of the Guardians.”
Based off a children’s nursery tale, the idea of seeing a reimagined “Jack and the Beanstalk” may have seemed too childish for older audiences. At the same time, the film may have come across too scary for young children with the word “slayer” or “killer” in the title.
2. Rewrites, delays, and change in directors:
Photo: Sean Gallup / Getty Images
In January 2009, D.J. Caruso (“Disturbia,” “Eagle Eye”) was named to helm the adaptation. A few months later in September, Bryan Singer (“X-Men: Days of Future Past”) became attached to the film as director instead. When he signed on, there was a complete rewrite for the project.
While production was set to begin summer 2010, it became delayed until 2011 after Singer voiced concerns for the visual effects along with a budget crunch.
The film’s release date then moved around a couple of times.
“Jack” was set to release last June after the successful “Snow White and the Huntsman” and before Disney’s “Brave”; however, last January, Warner Bros. pushed the film back to March 22, 2013 to focus on reshoots.
Instead, Tom Cruise’s eventual flop, “Rock of Ages,” took its place.
Later in October, the film was moved up to the first week of March with the altered title “Jack and the Giant Slayer.”
3. Too large of an investment:
$30 million isn’t a bad opening weekend, until you consider that $200-million budget. “Jack” fell far short of other productions with similar budgets:
$200 million $42.6 million 1 million “Jack the Giant Slayer” $195 million $27.2 million 1,590The majority of these films were either sequels or well-known franchises with large A-list actors in the lead. (Granted, “Jack” had star power from Ewan McGregor which was underplayed in marketing.)
Rather, the film becomes the latest in a trend of movie studios taking gambles with large inflated budgets (“John Carter,” “Oz the Great and Powerful”).
4. Too many fantasy titles: Jack’s run at theatres came less than a month after Jeremy Renner’s fairytale adaptation of “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters” hit theatres.
The film received negative reviews and opened to $19.7 million which may be a sign to studios that audiences aren’t interested in nursery rhymes and Grimm fairy tales being adapted and altered for adults on the big screen.
1. Both fairytales aren’t pulled from toddler tales.
2. Despite darker takes, both “Alice” and “Snow White” have the luxury of popular and profitable Disney characters before them so its less of a risk at the box office.
Of course, “Hansel & Gretel” picked up overseas, as “Jack” may do in the coming weeks, but neither will come close to the billion dollar hit of “Alice.”
5. The box-office slump:
For the past month and a half, the box office has been down.
Week 2013 Week 2012 Feb 1-3$68.9 million
Feb 3-5 $94.1 million
Five of the past six weekends have totaled well under $100 million for the box-office top 12. Last weekend alone, the U.S. box office showed a 38 per cent decline from the year before.
The largest hit of 2013 so far has been poorly received “Identity Thief” with a $34.6 million opening weekend.
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