The Magnificent Seven box office might be the latest in a long list of big-budget failures. The film, like the under-performing Ghostbusters reboot and the downright failure Ben-Hur reboot, is based on an older and much-beloved cinema classic; The Magnificent Seven is a remake of the 1960 film of the same name, which is itself an Americanized version of Akiro Kurosawa’s iconic 1954 film Seven Samurai.
Could The Magnificent Seven box office haul be set to follow in the unfortunate footsteps of Ghostbusters and Ben-Hur? Let’s look at the evidence.
The Magnificent Seven, which opens this Friday, is set to open in 3,600 movie theaters, according to Box Office Mojo. From those 3,600 theaters, Variety reports that Seven is on track to debut with a total of $35 million during its first weekend, likely leading the box office. While a $35 million opening is a respectable amount, especially for a low-budget film, Seven needs to do a lot more than win the box office.
In fact, The Magnificent Seven box office projection of $35 million opening weekend is meaningless without also taking into account the film’s budget and advertising costs. According to Louisiana Entertainment, The Magnificent Seven had an estimated total budget of almost $108 million. This isn’t surprising, given that The Magnificent Seven is a period piece as well as an action film, and it happens to star some of the biggest actors on the planet: Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt.
Unfortunately, the costs of The Magnificent Seven don’t stop there. The figure of $108 million is the budget of Seven before factoring into account the cost of print, film, and online advertisements.
According to io9, recouping the budget is just the beginning.
“For a film which cost between $35 and $75 million to make, the [Print & Advertising] budget will most likely be at least half the production budget. And the numbers only go up with bigger films.”
So, let’s do some of the math for The Magnificent Seven box office. While there is no official information available about the advertising budget for The Magnificent Seven, we can use the io9 rules as a resource. As a big-budget action flick, The Magnificent Seven likely had an advertising budget of more than half of its filming budget — let’s go with 60 percent, to be on the safe side.
That gives us $108 million (The Magnificent Seven‘s budget for filming the movie) plus $65 million (projected advertising costs) for a grand total of $173 million. Compared to that massive amount, a $35 million opening for Seven is just a drop in the bucket.
Of course, The Magnificent Seven‘s status as a failure or a success could also be determined by the movie’s staying power: can it sustain its box office appeal into its second and third weekends? Will it potentially be a sleeper hit like Bridesmaids, which barely dropped off in profits during its second weekend at the box office?
The Magnificent Seven also has the potential for international appeal, especially considering its roots in the Japanese hit film Seven Samurai. Many films have achieved paltry success in the United States but gone on to be box office gold in international markets — for example, Pacific Rim has been greenlit for a sequel due in part to its massive grosses overseas.
Unfortunately, it may already be too late for Seven to be seen as anything other than a box office bomb. Critics are eager to report on big-budget films flopping: often, seeing an expensive movie crash and burn can seem like a karmic punishment for a studio’s hubris. Additionally, 2016 has been unprecedented in its number of box office flops. The Magnificent Seven may be joining the ranks of such failures as Alice Through the Looking Glass, The Huntsman: Winter’s War, and Gods of Egypt.
With journalists ready to eviscerate any big-budget failures, it’s clear that The Magnificent Seven box office will need to outperform expectations this weekend.
[Featured Image by MGM & Columbia Pictures]