Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows
|Budget: $135 million||Financed by: Paramount; China Movie Media Group; Alibaba Pictures|
|Domestic Gross: $82,051,601||Domestic Distributor: Paramount|
|Overseas Gross: $163,572,247|
Directed by: Dave Green
Produced by: Michael Bay
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows was financed by Paramount for $135 million and in April 2016, two Chinese companies invested in the sequel — China Movie Media Group, which is a subsidiary of Wanda and also Alibaba Pictures. In addition to an expensive marketing blitz by Paramount, the sequel to the 2014 global hit landed tons of corporate promotional partners and even PSA ads from the Ad Council about anti-bullying. Going into release, Paramount spent $28.73 million on national TV ads (as per iSpotTV), plus millions more on print, online, radio, poster, etc. Paramount also made the decision to market the film directly at kids and families, instead of trying to court older auds looking for something nostalgic, which the studio successfully pulled off with the first installment. Apparently kids responded positively to the first reboot and older auds did not. The pic was dated for June 3rd against Me Before You and Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping. It was tracking softer than its predecessor, which launched with $65.5 million and Out Of The Shadows opened within its reduced expectations at $35,316,382 — placing #1 for the weekend. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows had terrible legs at the box office and sank 59.3% the following weekend to $14,386,565 and then 63.5% in its third frame to $5,251,531. It closed its domestic run with a disappointing $82,051,601.
The 2014 Ninja Turtles had a huge overseas haul of $302.1 million and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows saw its global audience shrink. China posted the strongest gross with $58.9 million and the offshore total stalled at $163.5 million. The worldwide total was $245.6 million and about $134 million would be returned after theaters take their percentage of the gross. The worldwide P&A expenses would be covered, but most of the budget would be in the red.
In a quarterly investor report, Paramount’s parent company Viacom said the studio posted an operating loss of $26 million, mostly attributed to the expensive Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows. The film’s poor theatrical run and resulting loss added more fire to the Viacom board drama between Chief Executive Philippe Dauman and Viacom head Sumner Redstone. After a string of expensive misfires including 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, Zoolander 2 and Whiskey Tango Foxtrot and an overall reduction in Paramount’s worth, Dauman wanted to sell 49% of the studio to Ninja Turtles investor Wanda. Redstone did not want to give up any ownership of the studio and a very public and messy battle played out, resulting in the departure of Dauman — who received an exit package estimated at $85 million. Not too bad for losing a fight with your boss.
Adding to the fallout of this sequel were two lawsuits. The first was from Nataki Williams, the vice president for financial planning and analysis at Viacom. She became a whistleblower against Viacom, claiming that the company was creating a tax-dodging scheme for Ninja Turtles. Viacom setup an entity in Netherlands and transferred the Ninja Turtles licensing over to that company, but all business was done in New York. The second lawsuit was from a group of production assistants that sued Paramount over poor working conditions, including not being given bathroom breaks and according to court documents, were “forced to urinate and defecate into bottles and buckets in their vehicles.” Sometimes show business sucks.