Lionsgate Scramble to Explain ‘Conan’ Box Office Failure
It’s official. Conan the Barbarian, Lionsgate’s sword and sorcery reboot starring Stargate’s Jason Momoa, has flopped on its opening weekend.
Conan grossed just $10.5 million this weekend, in sharp contrast to such summer blockbusters as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 2, ($169.2 million) Thor ($65.7 million) and Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides ($90.1 million). Not even Lionsgate seemed optimistic, predicting just $15 million from a wide release of the movie.
Conan is not alone. It was a dismal weekend for box office receipts generally. Fright Night, another reboot earned just $8.3 million on its opening weekend while Spy Kids 4D earned $12 million.
Lionsgate are scrambling for explanations, citing a lack of brand equity as the root cause of the movie’s lackluster performance. However one executive suggested to Deadline that actor Jason Momoa’s take on Conan might be partially to blame.
“There’s so much history with this character and this brand they needed someone who could both really ‘own’ Conan (making him feel relatable for this generation), but also who offered continuity with what fans already know and love,” the unnamed executive told Deadline today. “Because there’s no competing with Arnold, Jason’s performance bypasses all of the comparisons, playing the character in a very different way than Arnold did and instead taking inspiration from the written source.”
However it seems more likely that Jason Momoa’s portrayal of the character was probably the most original facet of this box office fiasco. If Lionsgate had delivered more original material instead of another lazy reboot, weekend box office receipts might have told another story.