LOS ANGELES • Savage reviews from critics. Lingering cultural soreness from NBC's Peter Pan Live!. Nobody wants to see Hugh Jackman as a creepy bald pirate.
Those were some explanations going around Hollywood over the weekend as Warner Bros' Pan bombed at the box office.
Costing at least US$250 million (S$350 million) to make and market worldwide, Pan took in about US$15.5 million at North American theatres. Mr Kevin Tsujihara, Warner's chief executive and top movie picker, had hoped updated versions of classic stories would help fill the void left at his studio at the end of the blockbuster Harry Potter series. The studio had already been developing a sequel to Pan. It will also release an updated Tarzan next summer.
Before Mr Tsujihara's tenure, which started in March 2013, the studio's movie operation was widely seen as Hollywood's gold standard. But Warner's leadership transition, which resulted in the loss of a senior movie executive, has been destabilising, leading the studio to become known for release delays and movies that arrive softly despite significant marketing support.
This year, Warner has had only one runaway hit: San Andreas. The disappointments have included The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Magic Mike XXL, Entourage, Hot Pursuit and the delayed Jupiter Ascending.
The pressure increases on several hoped-for blockbusters in the Warner pipeline, including Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice, expected to be out in March after a delay.
Pan is faced with terrible reviews - the Tribune Publishing called it "the official worst-ever Peter Pan film adaptation of any sort". It is directed by Joe Wright (Atonement, 2007)
Analysts estimate that the film, which opened in third place after Hotel Transylvania 2 at No. 2, needs to take in at least US$500 million worldwide to break even.
Sony's The Walk also stumbled in its wide release by eking out US$3.6 million. The Robert Zemeckis biopic about Philippe Petit's high-wire walk between the Twin Towers cost US$35 million to produce, but has made just US$6.4 million in its initial two weeks.
The No. 1 movie was The Martian (20th Century Fox), which took in an estimated US$37 million for a two-week total of US$108.7 million, says Rentrak, which compiles box-office data.
In limited release, Universal's Steve Jobs scored, pulling in US$521,000 in four theatres for a per-screen average of US$130,236. That ranks as the best average of the year and nicely positions the film about the Apple co-founder for its wide-release launch on Oct 23.
NEW YORK TIMES, REUTERS