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Lionsgate Scramble to Explain ‘Conan’ Box Office Failure

By on August 22, 2011

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.


  1. Samantha

    August 22, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    I haven’t seen it, but I’m going to say that the fault is that the movie sounded borrrring! I’m tempted to see it for Jason and that would be the only reason. It’s just not a franchise that needed a reboot.

  2. starlady

    August 25, 2011 at 12:57 am

    I saw this in 3D, I was very disappointed. Very violent, lots of gore, very predictable story, It was Ronon without a shirt, sword instead of a gun. I have to say that Jason did a good job and looked very HOT but it wasn’t worth my time and money.

  3. Magpie

    August 25, 2011 at 11:33 am

    I wonder will the film’s takings cover the lawyers fees when all is said and done…..

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