Jem And The Holograms (2015) — This big screen version of the ’80s cartoon was co-financed for a cheap $5 million by Universal and Hasbro, through their new film production label Allspark Pictures. Jason Blum’s Blumhouse Productions signed onto Jem And The Holograms to slash the budget down to its inexpensive price tag, though Universal spent millions more in P&A costs. Even with a modest marketing spend, the film had over 1,400 TV spots and millions more spent in print, radio, online, virtual print fees, etc, which will all be red ink since Jem And The Holograms opened with one of the worst numbers for a film playing in over 2,000 theaters. In 2,413 theaters, Jem And The Holograms pulled in an anemic $458,685 on its opening day with a $190 per screen average — amounting to about 4 people per showing and the weekend total came in at $1,375,320 with a $570 per screen average — ranking Jem just behind the box office loser Oogieloves In The BIG Balloon Adventure and the animated fiasco Delgo. Opening the same day as Jem, Rock The Kasbah finished the weekend $95k ahead and also found a home on the all time worst openings at the domestic box office. The film tumbled a huge 71.8% in its second weekend to $387,925 and was pulled out of release at the end of its second week with a total of $2,184,640.
The Guardian (1990) — After 16 years without a hit, William Friedkin took over directing duties from Sam Raimi, who wisely left this mess to direct Darkman. During interviews with Friedkin while The Guardian was in production, he said the pic was budgeted at $10 million (financed by Universal), though with his temper and history of going over schedule, the costs were probably higher. Marketed as Friedkin’s first return to the horror genre since The Exorcist, The Guardian was destroyed by critics and this tale of an evil nanny and an evil tree opened with a weak $5,565,620 coming in #3 for the weekend led by Pretty Woman in its 6th frame. The following weekend Tales From The Darkside: The Movie opened and and took much of The Guardian’s audience and it declined 45.7% to $3,020,640 and closed its run with $17,037,887. After this disaster, Friedkin saw no work until nepotism landed him directing jobs at Paramount, where his wife Sherry Lansing was running Paramount.