Why “the King’s Man” was such a predictable box office disaster


While he’s not as high-profile a dud as Warner Bros. ‘ Matrix resurrections, 20th century studios’ The king’s man won even less ($ 49 million in the first two weeks vs. $ 106 million for Matrix 4) at the global box office. However, the lessons of its failure can be at least as instructive, especially as the demand for recognizable streaming content increases the desire to excessively monetize every successful IP remotely. The lesson of The king’s man is simple: just because audiences liked your specific films, it doesn’t mean that they will be interested in everything that is built into the brand. And the notion of a blockbuster film spawning a successful spin-off is much less common than you might think, especially if the film has nothing to offer beyond being a spin-off.

Adaptation by Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goodman of the film by Marc Millar Kingsman The comic book series was a rare example, especially at the time, of a cult / geek-centric property achieving mainstream success. Kingsman: Secret Service was of course sold well, promising a beginner-friendly experience that featured Colin Firth as an older type 007 spy and Taron Egerton as his blue collar protege in the face of Samuel L. Jackson as a villainous world destroyer. Whether or not you know the source material, an R-rated, hyperviolent, ironic (but unapologetically political) variation on the Roger Moore-era James Bond film prototype had at least some built-in appeal. Fox screened the film early to get the word out, especially that it wasn’t just for comic book nerds. Kingsman would open with $ 40 million in its Friday and Monday weekend debut.

Driven by good reviews and a buzz, the ‘new to you’ star + concept adaptation grossed $ 128 million domestically, exceptionally leggy for a President’s Day release, and $ 411 million worldwide on a budget of $ 81 million. It could easily have been another situation like Scott Pilgrim Vs. the world, kick Where Dredd, where the geek buzz did not translate into general interest. Instead, it remains the last successful non-Marvel or DC comic book franchise. 2.5 years later, Kingsman: the golden circle Halle Berry, Channing Tatum, Pedro Pascal and (as villain) Julianne Moore would add to the fun. Even though this is a low-quality sequel (he spent a lot of time undoing a major plot twist in the first film), it still grossed $ 100 million domestically and $ 400 million. in the world on a budget of $ 104 million.

I’m inclined to believe that Matthew Vaughn wanted to do an “original” WWI spy actor and used the hook of a King man prequel / origin story as commercial albi. Alas, its inevitable box office failure, and it’s not like The king‘s Man was running $ 300 million in non-Covid time, points to the fact that not all blockbuster movies are viable franchises. Additionally, not all blockbuster movies that spawn a successful direct sequel have a flexibly monetizable IP address. Contrary to popular belief, most rumored / hoped-for spin-offs don’t actually happen, and many end up disappointing by overestimating interest in the initial success. Especially outside of the last few years, people like American Marshals, The Scorpion King, Hobbs & Shaw and 8 from the ocean are quite rare.

dead Pool was a hit ($ 863 million) because the public wanted a dead Pool movie and the version was sold as a good time with or without knowledge of IP. Venom outperformed in 2018 ($ 854 million) because the public really wanted a Venom movie. Birds of prey ($ 202 million)catwoman ($ 84 million) and Electra ($ 57 million) everything was tanked. Same Solo bombed ($ 394 million out of a budget of $ 275 million) despite the Star wars Brand. Puss in Boots and Minions were big hits ($ 555 million and $ 1.1 billion), but Penguins of Madagascar earned just $ 375 million. Hobbs & Shaw ($ 759 million) featured popular characters in the Core Quick saga films and was also a big budget action film pitting Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham against Idris Elba. Conversely, Tokyo drift ($ 85 million) almost killed the franchise.

Annabelle and the nun worked because they were cheap and attractive for R-rated religious-themed horror movies, beyond what audiences cared about (now $ 2 billion in revenue) Conjuration of the universe. The MCU is now throwing everything to the wall, notably via Disney + shows, but the domestic failure of Eternals ($ 164 million) shows that even the Marvel brand has limits. The Mandalorian was a big success in part because it was the first big Star wars television show, and Grogu has become a renowned character. We will see how long the notion of Disney + Star wars show (especially the one that is not centered on the inherited characters) remains an event. The Broccolis have so far been smart enough to realize that a successful James Bond franchise doesn’t mean they should be doing a Felix Leiter series as well.

Just because they liked your movie doesn’t mean they want a dozen different variations of that movie with different characters from different time periods. Just because audiences loved seeing Colin Firth and Taron Egerton in a hyperviolent, crass, outrageous present-day action comedy doesn’t mean they enjoyed the abstract so much. Kingsman IP to the point of craving a prequel origin story starring Ralph Fiennes. The commercial hook was that it was just a movie that existed in the same continuity as other movies that you liked. If you weren’t already intrigued by the mere notion of a Kingsman movie, The king‘s Man had nothing to sell you. It didn’t work for Solo: A Star Wars Story. It certainly wasn’t going to work for The king’s man.


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