|Budget: $20 million (estimated)||Financed by: Mattel; Dolphin Films; Ingenious Media|
|Domestic Gross: $3,818,664||Domestic Distributor: Open Road|
|Overseas Gross: $2,453,739||
Directed by: Stewart Hendler
Produced by: Julia Pistor
Based on a toy line, Max Steel was in active development back in 2009 at Paramount, but the project never materialized and the rights reverted back to toy company Mattel. In 2013, Mattel formed an in-house entertainment division called Playground Productions, where they could develop and maintain creative control for Mattel branded movies and TV series and brought the Max Steel property back to life. Max Steel was co-financed by Mattel, Dolphin Films and the UK based Ingenious Media — which has been beset by investor lawsuits stemming from a tax avoidance scheme. A deal was struck with Open Road (joint distribution between theater chains Regal and AMC) to handle stateside distribution and it was dated for a 2015 release.
Dolphin Films International, the company’s new international sales arm teamed with IM Global to handle pre-sales to distributors. Max Steel was presented to buyers as the start of a blockbuster franchise and the project sold well throughout Europe and Asia. In an investor stockholder report, parent company to Dolphin Entertainment, DOLPHIN DIGITAL MEDIA INC reported that they invested $10.4 million into the production of Max Steel and after the 2015 release was delayed, they accrued $800,000 in interest. The budget has not been reported, but is estimated around $20 million.
Open Road dated the pic originally for August 18, 2015 but delayed the picture into 2016, where it shifted around before being dumped with little fanfare on October 14. Adding to its limited commercial prospects was the family targeting movie landing a PG-13 rating and Open Road lost the appeal to be granted a PG. Open Road gave Max Steel a modest P&A spend and tossed a few million into over 1,400 national TV airings (as per iSpotTv) and other traditional means of marketing and it was tracking for a $5 million weekend. Max Steel was not screened for critics and was booked into 2,034 theaters against The Accountant and Kevin Hart: What Now?. It pulled in an awful $2,182,216 — placing #11 for the weekend led by The Accountant and posted one of the worst performances for a film playing in over 2,000 theaters. Max Steel collapsed 68.8% to $680,104 in its second frame and promptly lost most of its theater count. It was pulled from release after only three weeks with a domestic cume of $3,818,664.
Max Steel saw a fleeting theatrical release in a handful of offshore markets and cumed a mere $2.4 million.