Critical aggregates count for something, but box office figures count for more...
The box office can be a cruel stomping ground for films, where numbers and statistics play no games and pull no punches. Perform badly there, and it’s difficult failure to hide from.
'How much? No. No it can't be' says Jack Ryan
The people behind Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit; Paramount Pictures, director Kenneth Branagh and lead star Chris Pine, will have been hoping for a solid performance, especially considering the titles they were going up against.
Ride Along, the film that ended up topping this weekend’s box office with a hefty $41m – a January record, no less – is really, really, really bad. It’s not just us saying that; the critics are pretty unanimous in their disdain for the Kevin Hart and Ice Cube spoof buddy-movie.
Jack Ryan, despite performing considerably better with the critics, opened to $17.2m this weekend, which placed the thriller in fourth place. It matched the total of its predecessor in the franchise, Red October – but that film opened 24 years ago, when tickets were around half the price. Ouch.
Even more painful for Jack Ryan, is that Lone Survivor – a film enjoying its fourth week of release – trumped it with $22m, finishing in second. The Nut Job secured the third spot with $20.5m, while Disney’s Frozen spends its billionth week in the top 5 with another $11m.
Lukewarm critical success aside, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit will go down as an unqualified failure should the numbers not pick up this week – and there’s no indication that it will. The big names, ‘Hart’ and ‘Ice Cube’, combined with a ridiculous premise have put bums on seats.
The U.S box office is generally a quiet place. The blockbuster films hit town in the tail end of the summer; the Oscar-contenders come later on towards the winter, while the delayed, the independent and the rubbish come in January. Just kidding.