It’s rare for a movie to be pulled from theaters. No matter how poorly received a film may be doing or how little money it may be bringing in, most studios are content with letting their box office bomb coast by for a few weeks before doing a quick turn around to DVD and Blu-ray.
But Universal’s Jem and the Holograms, loosely based on the 1980s cartoon of the same name, is a special case. The film is doing so poorly that it appears Universal is yanking it from theaters only two and a half weeks after the movie’s Oct. 23. release.
When you look at the numbers it’s easy to see why, even if it is still a little unbelievable. In its debut week, Jem and the Holograms brought in a measly $1.37 million across 2,413 screens. In its second week, the film fared even worse, only taking in $387,925.
Even though the film only has a budget of $5 million according to Box Office Mojo, the movie didn’t have a chance of earning back even half of its budget.
And that’s just the financial part of the equation. Though far from the worst reviewed film of the year (that award will likely go to Adam Sandler’s Pixels), Jem was received poorly by critics, with the film sitting at a 20 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and a 42 out of 100 on Metacritic. The real problem lies with how the film alienating what few hardcore fans of the franchise there were to begin with. The film and show have few similarities, with Universal’s movie focusing more on the power of YouTube and social media than the themes that made the show worthwhile.
“Theater chains are contractually obligated to hold a film for two weeks after booking it. However, in all my days as an analyst, I’ve never seen a studio actually stop reporting after two weeks,” Jeff Bock, senior box-office analyst at Exhibitor Relations, says to Business Insider. “This is unprecedented, and shows just how badly this film flopped. Not only is it the lowest-grossing debut for a studio film this year, but it’s the worst all-time – by a considerable margin – for any film released in 2,000-plus theaters.”
Ouch. It’s a tough pill to swallow for fans of the franchise, but Universal doesn’t likely care too much. With the massive success of Jurassic World, losing a few million on Jem and the Holograms is hardly even noticeable.