The year’s almost over, and it’s being called a record breaker at the box office, yet along with a number of big hits, including the Hobbit, there have also been a number of cinematic money losers as well. While The Hobbit may be ending the year on a high note, Ronin 47, the new Keanu Reeves movie, could end up becoming the biggest flop of 2013.This is quite an achievement considering the movie just came out on Christmas day, but Ronin 47 has been a troubled production from the beginning, and now the Hollywood Reporter tells us it could end up a $175 million loss for Universal. (At this writing, The Lone Ranger is still the biggest flop of 2013, with Disney having to write down $190 million on the film.)
Oddly enough, Universal is reportedly enjoying “its most profitable year in history,” thanks to Despicable Me 2, and Fast & Furious 6. The studio also took the step of spinning fast and furiously how they were writing down the costs of Ronin to the Hollywood Reporters and others, but in the end, it was a movie that practically doomed from the get-go, much like last summer’s Battleship.
Where Ronin 47 is also in deep trouble is it’s not doing well overseas. These days, American movies are desperately needing foreign box office to keep making money, and Ronin’s world-wide box office take won’t save the day either. But with movies costing so much these days, it shouldn’t be any surprise there’s little middle ground anymore at the box office, and films can either be enormous hits, or huge disasters. (Even a hit like World War Z can still take years to earn a profit.)
Case in point, even with the Hobbit trilogy costing $500 million, the Desolation of Smaug is ending the year very nicely by hitting $500 million world-wide, and staying at #1 at the box office for three weeks now. But there’s certain to be more manic depressive activity at the box office in the year to come, which is also certain to leave the major studios in a panic. (And the real question is what are the major studios going to do when comic book movies are played out in a few years?)