After years of runaway success, Legendary Entertainment is not having a good 2015 so far.
Last month the company was forced to take a whopping $90 million write down on Michael Mann’s “Blackhat”. With a production budget of $70 million and tens of millions spent in publicity and promotion, the film has so far earned just $14.5 million worldwide after several weeks.
February isn’t proving much rosier either. Even though the film doesn’t open in the United States until tomorrow, Variety reports that Legendary is taking an early $85 million write down on the long-delayed and troubled fantasy tale “Seventh Son”.
That film cost $95 million to produce, tens of millions to market, and is on track to open soft in the United States with just $7-10 million this coming weekend. Even so, it’s not the disastrous failure “Blackhat” is as ‘Son’ has already opened in several overseas territories and earned $82 million so far.
One difference here is that due to the nature of their agreement with Universal Pictures, Legendary essentially shouldered the entire production and marketing costs of both films themselves with Universal only collecting a distribution fee. Thus Universal isn’t impacted by their failures, but Legendary cops them right in the face.
The company has numerous projects in development including “Godzilla” and “Pacific Rim” sequels along with “Kong: Skull Island,” none of which will hit until 2017 at the earliest. Supernatural thrillers “Krampus” and “Spectral” are cheap to produce but will only have so much box-office, same with the NWA biopic “Straight Outta Compton” in which they apparently have a stake.
That leaves the heavy lifting over the next two years up to four films. Legendary is said to have funded around 20% of “Jurassic World” and should get a very nice financial windfall from that. The other three are Guillermo del Toro’s “Crimson Peak,” Zhang Yimou’s “The Great Wall” and Duncan Jones’ “Warcraft” – all acclaimed filmmakers, but for now it’s a wait and see game regarding whether they’ll prove to be bankable hits.