|Budget: $125 million||Financed by: Paramount|
|Domestic Gross: Still in release||Domestic Distributor: Paramount|
|Overseas Gross: Still in release|
Directed by: Chris Wedge
Produced by: Mary Parent
Monster Trucks was financed by Paramount for $125 million and was a pet project for Adam Goodman — the former president of Paramount’s Motion Picture Group. The idea for this derivative kiddie pic came from Goodman’s 4 year old son, who imagined an actual monster in a monster truck. Well, to the little fella’s credit, that is no more ridiculous than kids fare about anthropomorphic cars or transforming vehicles hellbent on destruction. Monster Trucks was fast tracked to development in 2013 through the newly formed Paramount Animation division and it was the second film in their pipeline after The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water. Paramount had grand plans and ambitions for this property, which they envisioned as a franchise akin to Transformers and that it would also lend itself to easy branding and merchandising.
Monster Trucks was first dated for May 29, 2015 and then shifted to Christmas 2015 after the studio moved Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol out of the holiday frame. It was then pushed back to March 18, 2016 and delayed further, where it finally made it to the big screen on January 13, 2017. Adam Goodman was dismissed from his position in February 2015. This was reportedly because of Paramount’s slim slate of output and around the time of his firing, he was wasting money and time on junk like Drunk Wedding (you can read about that here).
Knowing they have a stinker on their hands, Paramount’s parent Viacom announced a $115 million write-down on Monster Trucks in September, 2016. This was on top of a disastrous 2016 for Paramount, which saw most of its movies outright bomb or underperform and there was a turbulent Viacom board drama that erupted between Philippe Dauman and Viacom head Sumner Redstone. Dauman wanted to sell off 49% of the struggling studio, which eventually led to his exit.
Despite the impairment charge following Monster Trucks into release, Paramount heavily marketed the picture. As per ispotTV, the studio spent $49.66 million on national TV ads(!), plus millions on other traditional means of marketing — in a P&A blitz that cost at least $60 million. Even with the pumped up ad spend, tracking was pointing to a terrible $8 – $10 million opening frame. Monster Trucks bowed into a very crowded market over the Martin Luther King holiday — against the cheap horror pic The Bye Bye Man, Sleepless, the wide expansions of Live By Night & Patriots Day and the semi-wide expansion of Silence (also Paramount). Monster Trucks opened within its low expectations with $10,950,705 — placing #7 for the weekend led by the holdover Hidden Figures. The film saw a modest 35.4% second frame decline to $7,072,602 and fell 40.9% in its third session to $4,177,101. More after the domestic run closes…
Paramount has so far released Monster Trucks in 26 overseas markets, where it has pulled in $22.7 million. More as the offshore rollout continues…