Is Pan Headed For Box Office Disaster?

pan box office

Budgeted at a massive $150 million by Warner Bros and RatPac Dune, Pan was pushed back from its July release to October to complete the extensive visual effects — or so they say.  There might actually be nothing cunning here, as the vfx may really need to be polished or it might be the usual code for retooling and throwing more money at a film that doesn’t work.  When Pan hits theaters in October, the film will no doubt cost more than its current price tag and the film has the backing of a studio who spends more on marketing blitzes than any other studio and will have a combined production and worldwide marketing cost north of $300 million.  It’s an enormous risk for a film that Warner Bros envisioned as a franchise akin to Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings.  After Warner Bros screened 20 minutes of random action sequences for members of the press, many were left with question marks over their heads, especially when a bizarre fantasy sequence was set to the Nirvana tune Smells Like Teen Spirit.  Maybe in the context of the film and the tone, it will work — or maybe it’s a fucking awful idea.  For all of the manufactured controversy of the whitewashed casting of Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily, whatever taste it leaves in your mouth, it’s an obstacle the film is likely to overcome with ease, but for a film with a theatrical breakeven point far north of $600 million, it might be an insurmountable task for a film tracking softly at the box office.  Pan may have built in name recognition and general awareness, but that did not stop the 2003 Peter Pan from taking a box office bellyflop.  That Revolution Studios production had a listed budget at $100 million, before the shuttered company had its library up for sale and the actual cost revealed as $130.6 million with an awful worldwide haul of $121.9 million.  While the marketing is just getting rolling on Pan, the trailers have a flamboyant feel inline with something like The Adventures of Baron Munchausen crossed with Roman Polanski’s Oliver Twist and seems to hover uncomfortably between empty spectacle and bits of the Peter Pan narrative.  Some killer TV spots could add some much need heat to Pan, but Warner Bros has already spent over $10 million on TV ads that just seems to rehash the same footage and sound bits in the trailers.  The marketing might strike the right chord with the public within the next few weeks, but as of now the box office for Pan looks grim and opening day and date in most overseas markets will not allow the marketing material to be retooled.  And why Hugh Jackman did not receive a title card during the theatrical trailers and we are treated to a ‘From Director Joe Wright’ card, makes me wonder how many children became excited to see their favorite director of Atonement and Anna Karenina tackle the story of Peter Pan.

UPDATE:

Pan’s opening weekend comes in way below its already low expectations with $15,315,435 — which is the same number the 2003 Peter Pan opened with adjusted for inflation — and without 3D price gouging.  Pan tumbled an estimated 61.7% in its second weekend to $5,860,000 and looks unlikely to even reach $40 million in North America.  Pan’s international numbers came in at an underwhelming $25.2 million during its first weekend in 54 territories and has so far pulled in $47.1 million, with miles to go until reaching the black.  More as the film continues its rollout across the world…

  • Vitor Menezes

    i don’t think so, 98% in rotten tomatoes wanna see the movie, besides, check these thingshttp://www.fandango.com/pan_179100/moviereviews in 6 people that have seen it, probabbly critics that have seen already, the visuals are stunning, like avatar, and we know what happened to it, and i am looking foward to it, and can barely wait, and i’m 18, also there are many kids that are gonna want to see it, and to make u more optimistic:
    Black List script -check *Director with a good reputation – check
    *Excellent cast – check
    *Cinematography – check
    *Production design – check
    *Music (John Powell), based on the film score on the official movie site – check

    *WB marketing pitch ( worldwide) – check
    *Weather ( early fall) for moviegoing – check
    *Competition ( more arthouse than blockbuster type, although there is some spillover from the previous week) so different demos – check