Mother's Day weekend birthed two box office flops this year, including an all-time face plant for director Guy Richie's "King Arthur," which made $14.6 million on $175 million budget (with up to $100 million going toward a total fail job of selling it to the public).
It's just the latest of a troubling string of studio failures this year, and we haven't even hit summer, where we get the biggest flops of all (remember that highly anticipated "Independence Day" sequel?).
With that in mind, here's a look at the biggest flops and disappointments of 2017 so far. Check back in August (or sooner, depending on how fast and furious bombs drop in theaters) for a new powerless ranking.
In hindsight, this flick was doomed from the start, as Scarlett Johansson -- a very white woman with a very white name -- was cast as a character who is very much not white in the beloved source material. It didn't matter how otherwise well-made Rupert Sanders' movie was, because audiences will no longer tolerate Hollywood whitewashing the live action adaptations of seminal Japanese manga and anime franchises.
Johansson tried to spin the movie, in which she plays a cyborg cop who slowly learns about her past and the conspiracy surrounding it, as a feminist story. And sure, it's got the strong female lead, which is certainly a big accomplishment. But the noise around the movie drowned out that argument as well as any good reviews, and with the core target audience protesting, the project was toast. It made just $40 million nationwide and $168 worldwide, leaving Paramount with a sizable loss on a movie that probably cost $200 million to make and market.
Warner Bros. indulged Guy Ritchie, the king of indulgence, with $175 million to make a big, bloody, messy quasi-adaptation of the quintessential (and exhausted) medieval tale of King Arthur. And it had a good cast, including a bunch of handsome British dudes, like lead Charlie Hunnam and villain Jude Law, plus great actors like Djimon Hounsou and Eric Bana. And yet, the thing was a mess, from pre-production straight through its marketing and opening.
Warner Bros. must have seen the success of Time Warner cousin HBO's "Game of Thrones" and really wanted in on that genre gold, because they then spent another rumored $100 million in marketing and advertisingŠ all to prop up a movie that got a 26 percent Rotten Tomatoes score and earned $14.7 million domestic at the box office in its opening weekend (it's at $43 million worldwide). It was supposed to be an epic, and well, it was epic-- an epic failure.
Speaking of whitewashing, here's another Hollywood attempt to stick a white person in front of an Asian cast in a movie set in Asia, and suffering the new consequences. This is a bit of an odd one: Legendary, the American production company, was bought by Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda a year ago; this movie, about some white dudes who team up with Chinese locals to defend the Great Wall from some dragons, was supposed to be their first truly international hit, bridging cultures through the power of leading man Matt Damon and CGI spectacle. But even though Damon's role was specifically meant for a white guy, people who didn't watch the trailers or read the synopsis got pissed, and staged protest.
It also didn't help that the movie pretty much stunk. "The Great Wall" made just $45 million in the US and while international sales gave it final $331 million worldwide tally, but it'll ultimately see a $75 million loss for its various producers.
Try to figure this one out: A movie stars two of Hollywood's hottest actors, Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds. It¹s got a cool sci-fi plot, reminiscent of "Alien," with a screenplay from the "Deadpool" guys, Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese. And it¹s got largely positive reviews, good for a 68 percent Rotten Tomatoes score. And yet, it totally bombs, grossing just $30 million in the US and $74 million worldwide.
What the hell happened? Maybe Sony just didn't advertise the movie enough -- you didn't see much of an ad blitz or TV show tour -- and underestimated what they had. It opened in over 3,000 theaters, but that number was cut in half by its third weekend out, and the movie just never recovered. It'll be a nice find on iTunes for someone in a few months, at least.
This is just the case of a movie being way less than the sum of its parts. And "The Circle" had all the parts necessary to be a classic.
Start with the source material: A modern classic novel by Dave Eggers about technology, privacy, and corporate power that seems even more relevant today than it did when it was first released in 2013. Add a writer/director, James Ponsoldt, who had made two smart and celebrated indie hits, "The Spectacular Now" and "The End of the Tour," the latter of which tackled complicated genius in a very genuine way. Then there was the undeniable cast: Emma Watson as the lead, with Tom Hanks as the sneaky maybe-villain, and John Boyega as a mysterious hero.
But somehow, the film just didn't work; it felt fragmented and uncertain of itself all the way through, with whole chunks of the story removed. Maybe the book was too much to tackle in a movie and would have been better off as a mini-series. Terrible reviews -- in part brought on by high expectations -- led to a 16 percent Rotten Tomatoes score and just $18 million haul at the box office, thus far. The silver lining: It only cost $18 million to make, so it may eventually break even with home video sales. Still, a huge missed opportunity more than anything else.
Some dumb dead properties should just stay dead. For every "Charlie's Angels" and, if we're being generous, "The A-Team," that become rebooted hits, there are five shows like "CHiPs" that don't deserve a second life because they weren't very good in the first place. Dax Shepard tried to breathe new life into the hokey '70s sitcom, but not even original series costar Larry Wilcox wanted to see it. Sure, the other original star, Erik Estrada, made a cameo, but he tempered his enthusiasm a bit, too. And without that massive hardcore "CHiPs" fan support, the movie was doomed; it opened in seventh place in March and made just $26 million worldwide.
Maybe not a flop, but definitely a disappointment. Amy Schumer, Twitter and internet outrage foibles aside, is a huge star, having made the jump from TV to the big screen with 2015's hit "Trainwreck." And she wasn't even the main attraction here: In this mother-daughter adventure comedy, she played spawn of Goldie Hawn, making her first movie outing in a stunning 15 years. But reviews for the bawdy film, in which Schumer is the kind of unlikeable that no one can defend, earned a 38 percent Rotten Tomatoes score and made just $26 million in its opening weekend. It could make its budget back eventually, but it's not the slam dunk moneymaker people expected.
"Fifty Shades Darker": The first adaptation of E.L. James' best-selling mommy fan porn was a smash, taking in $85 million in its opening weekend, mostly from excited groups of horny women. But the sheer shittiness of the story, writing and acting caught up with the sequel, which made just half that opening weekend total. It wound up making $378 million worldwide -- pretty good, but nearly a full $200 million less than the original. Expect the third installment to suffer even more.