Why do They Keep Making Riddick Films?
The reason's pretty obvious, in fact it'll slap you in the face
As we approach the first weekend of Autumn, Riddick is set to dominate the post-Summer box office when it hits America tonight. Its competition: The Butler (been out for a month now), We’re The Millers (old news) and Instructions not Included (surely can’t repeat last week’s heroics). Bottom line: default win.
It’s a savvy release date given that the headlines come Monday will go along the lines of: ‘Riddick comes out of the dark to take the Box Office’, conveying the appearance of success, but the Riddick films aren't exactly famous for their high-grossing abilities.
Pitch Black – having garnered a cult status of sorts – has managed $53m since it was released in 2000, thirteen years ago. The reviews were mixed up, and it managed 57% on Rotten Tomatoes. Critically, 2004’s The Chronicals of Riddick was worse, totting up a pathetic 24% on the review aggregator site. $115m in global ticket sales has saved it.
The answer becomes clear when you compare the films’ budgets: Pitch Black cost $23m while its follow up took things to $128m with a $105m cost. Now the $168m global gross doesn’t look so bad. Vin Diesel’s latest dig at the franchise – tonight’s Riddick – cost a staggering $38m to make; a remarkable achievement considering the look of the film.
Why do they keep making Riddick films? Because they’re cheap to make and they’re profitable. This weekend, despite scoring a 53% score on RT so far, Riddick will top the box office barring any huge surprises – a thunderstorm culminating in a nationwide blackout kind of surprise.
It would be lovely, romantic even, to say that Universal keep making these films to satisfy a minority of fans desperate to see their favourite bald-headed sci-fi hero works things out, but it seems as though they’ve stumbled upon a way to make a Hollywood film on a shoestring, and it’s difficult to see them stopping it now. Figures garnered from Box Office Mojo.
Vin Diesel stars as Riddick