LOS ANGELES – After serving as a sure-fire cash cow for Hollywood in recent years, some sequels were surprising box-office duds in 2019 that even tarnished the legacies of popular sagas like X-Men and Terminator.
Certainly, that was not the case across the board, as the three top-grossing hits worldwide in 2019 – “Avengers: Endgame” (global box office revenue of $2.798 billion), “The Lion King” ($1.656 billion) and “Spider-Man: Far from Home” ($1.392 billion) – were all sequels or remakes.
But a long list of sequels, spin-offs or reinterpretations that were considered sure bets, or even projected to be smash hits, ended up as disappointments.
They include the following:
“DARK PHOENIX”: BITTER END TO X-MEN UNDER FOX BANNER
Budget (approximate and not including marketing): $200 million
Worldwide gross: $252 million.
20th Century Fox, now a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Studios, had a long run of success with the X-Man saga, but “Dark Phoenix” was the lowest-grossing installment of the entire series.
Despite boasting a cast led by Sophie Turner (Game of Thrones series) and also featuring Jennifer Lawrence, Jessica Chastain, Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy, the film was unable to overcome poor reviews from critics.
“It clearly is a movie that didn’t connect with audiences that didn’t see it, it didn’t connect enough with audiences that did see it. So that’s on me,” director Simon Kinberg said after its mediocre debut in the United States.
“TERMINATOR: DARK FATE”: THE APOCALYPSE OF THE APOCALYPSE
Budget: $185 million.
Worldwide gross: $234 million.
The film welcomed back Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton, who had been absent from the saga for nearly 30 years. James Cameron was back as producer and screenwriter, though not as director. But none of that was enough to give wings to a film that may end up being the last installment in this science-fiction saga.
Reviews from critics were largely positive and there was praise for the mixture of figures from the 1991 film “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” and new talents like MacKenzie Davis and Hispanic actors Natalia Reyes and Gabriel Luna. But the film, directed by Tim Miller, failed to inspire a movie-going public that had long-ago started to sour on Terminator films.
“CHARLIE’S ANGELS”: HEADING FOR A FLOP
Budget: $48 million
Worldwide gross: $10.8 million (still in theaters).
The movie has only been in theaters for a week, but all indications are that the third installment of the Charlie’s Angels film series (itself a continuation of a same-named television series) will join the list of sequels that flopped in 2019. In its opening weekend in the US and Canada last weekend, it came in third with a scant $8.3 million at the box office on its opening weekend.
Hopes were that Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott and Ella Balinska could pump new life into “Charlie’s Angels,” a movie directed by Elizabeth Banks that received lukewarm reviews.
“MEN IN BLACK: INTERNATIONAL”: SPIN-OFF SPUTTERS DESPITE THOR DUO
Budget: $110 million.
Worldwide gross: $254 million.
Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson had shown enviable chemistry in the 2017 superhero film “Thor: Ragnarok,” which grossed $854 million. So it seemed like a winning plan to reunite them for a spin-off of the “Men in Black” film series.
But the result was disappointing compared with the first “Men in Black,” which was the third highest-grossing film of 1997 after two mega-hits: “Titanic” and “The Lost World: Jurassic Park.”