Mark Wahlberg as Cade Yeager in Transformers: The Last Knight from Paramount Pictures.

Davis: Plenty of bombs at box office lately

Kelowna movie columnist Rick Davis talks the big screen in his weekly column

By Rick Davis

There has been much talk of movies underperforming at the North America box office whether it is disappointments with Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and The Mummy or bombs like Baywatch or King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. However just because a movie is not successful in North America, does not mean it will not be profitable. I believe the domestic audience is suffering from what I call “formula fatigue” due to the number of remakes, sequels and movies that simply look like they are trying to hard to be blockbusters, audiences are not responding that, to quote Shakespeare out of context, is “…a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

However, just because a movie is not successful domestically, does not mean that it will not be successful internationally. Pirates of the Caribbean has grossed $650 million worldwide and although The Mummy has only grossed $57 million in North America, added to the rest of the world it has a tally of $300 million and it is still to open in a number if key markets including Japan. This means that another Pirates sequel is extremely likely and Universal’s Dark Universe (which was kicked off by The Mummy and future movies will feature other classic movie monsters) will continue. Unfortunately for Baywatch and King Arthur, they will likely not be profitable, even with international box office.

Transformers: The Last Knight is a good example of formula fatigue in North America as predictions are that it will have the lowest opening of any of the series. That is not to say that it will necessarily be a bad movie and will likely be a money-maker. The fifth in the series, it is again directed by Michael Bay (Pearl Harbor, Armageddon) who will do his usual magic with big action set pieces and special effects but as with the previous installments, expect critics to disparage the story and character development. Mark Wahlberg returns for his 2nd outing caught in a war between humans and Transformers and with Optimus Prime gone, the only hope lies within the hidden history of Transformers on Earth. Joining the cast is Anthony Hopkins and returning to the series after being left out of the 4th movie is Josh Duhamel and Stanley Tucci. At a reported budget of over $250 million, it must gross $500 million worldwide to be considered a success, which it will likely surpass.

On the other end of the scale, 47 Meters Down is already profitable after one weekend. Made for $5 million dollars, it has already grossed $12 million from the United States and Italy. This weekend it expands into Canada and more markets and this little survival horror movie starring Clair Holt (The Vampire Diaries) and Mandy Moore (This is Us) is looking like it could be the first sleeper hit of the summer. Two sisters are on vacation in Mexico become trapped in a shark cage on the ocean floor. As their oxygen starts to run out and with sharks circling them, they must find a way to get to the surface alive.

Rick Davis is the general manager of Landmark Cinemas Xtreme. Email:, Twitter: @rickthemovieguy

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