Seemingly every year there’s famous examples of films of a major blockbuster failing at the box-office and taking a steep writedown at the studio that created it. The failures of films such as “Pan,” “John Carter,” “Blackhat,” “Seventh Son” and “The Huntsman: Winter’s War” were all written off at the cost to the studios of at least tens of millions, and sometimes pushing into the nine figure range.
Paramount’s “Monster Trucks” however has set something of a precedent. Talking about its current fiscal fourth quarter earnings, Viacom cited a “programming impairment charge of $115 million” related to the “expected performance of an unreleased film”. THR did digging and found it was referring to the film “Monster Trucks” which isn’t due out in cinemas for another four months.
“Monster Trucks” is a 3D live-action/computer-animated action comedy starring Lucas Till, Jane Levy, Amy Ryan, Rob Lowe, Danny Glover, Barry Pepper and Holt McCallany. Made on an estimated production budget of $100 million-plus, what was to be a broad-audience title ultimately became a kids movie. Originally slated for a May 2015 release, it has kept being pushed back with the current release date being January 13th 2017.
The writedown comes at a bad time for Paramount which is said to have lost in the range of around $500 million this year despite a favorable box office, home entertainment and licensing environment.