The Little Mermaid arrived in cinemas at the end of May. It cost 200 million dollars to make. A month ago, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 hits. It cost 250 million dollars to make. Fast X hit theaters three weeks ago. It cost $350 million to make.
Throughout the summer, schedules don’t get any less busy and budgets don’t get any less tight. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse ($100 million) entered the fray last weekend and is at the top of the pile for just one week before being displaced by Transformers: Rise of the Beasts ($200 million). Then Transformers will only have a week of runway before Elemental ($200M) and The Flash ($200-220M) spend the weekend. Two weeks later, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny will test the limits of nostalgia with a 49% score on Rotten Tomatoes and a $300 million budget.
July is where the lack of breathing room will almost certainly result in at least one big budget (no pun intended) bomb. Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning cost $290 million to make and will get most of the big screens just one week before Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer – which costs $100 million, is not based on an existing IP, and is rated R – takes over. most IMAXs. That same weekend, Greta Gerwig will set the most expensive casino in theaters with her $100 million movie Barbie.
The Flash with Ezra Miller
The summer is filled with many more very expensive films: Haunted Mansion ($157.8 million), Meg 2: The Trench (no budget, but the first cost between $130 and $178 million), and others like Blue Beetle, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles : Mutant Mayhem, Gran Turismo, and Ruby Gillman: Teenage Kraken, which have no publicly available budget information, but all likely fall in the $100-200 million range.
There’s an extremely expensive release hitting theaters almost every weekend this summer. With the death of the DVD market and a serious reduction in the amount of time until most theatrical releases hit VOD, each of these films will need to make a ton of money in a short amount of time to be successful. If Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning doesn’t have a Top Gun: Maverick -sized opening weekend, it won’t have nearly as much opportunity to make that money in the coming weeks. Tom Cruise is said to be furious that the film is being pushed off IMAX screens a week after its release, but cramming films into the schedule like sardines will hurt other marquees – those without the world’s biggest movie star. as their guide – much more.
Some smaller films will probably be able to achieve good box office numbers in the shadow of these giants. I predict that A24’s lively horror Talk to Me and Wes Anderson’s sci-fi drama Asteroid City will find eager audiences. But there’s significantly less room for a breakout hit this summer than when M3GAN danced its way to success earlier this year. Nothing on the calendar looks like an Avatar-sized blockbuster, but the numbers alone will push out most smaller original films.
More importantly for the Hollywood box office, many of these films will lose money. Fast X is well on its way to losing and even The Little Mermaid will struggle to recoup its costs, and those are the lucky films that got a weekend to themselves. Both films got off to a good start, but when a film costs as much as Fast X, there is little room for error. Around the time Avatar: The Way of Water was released, James Cameron said that the film would have to be one of the highest-grossing films of all time to break even due to its high budget, estimated to be between $350 million and $460 million. . Fast X is on the lower end of that list and, barring a miracle, it won’t be one of the highest grossing films of all time.
But why should it be? Why does every blockbuster movie have to be so expensive? Chad Stahelski got John Wick Chapter 4 for $100 million and it looks fantastic with amazing, elaborate action scenes. Infirmary looks bigger and more expensive than most $200 million movies, and Michael Bay only worked on a $40 million budget—the same price as a mid-budget drama like Licorice Pizza. Blockbuster movies don’t have to be so expensive, and it’s bad for the industry that they are. This summer’s schedule is packed, but with the sheer number of films with such big budgets, it’s almost certain that there won’t be any audiences.
NEXT: Beyond Spider-Verse will never beat a Mario movie