In a franchise-driven Hollywood where films are discussed in terms of trilogies and, increasingly, shared cinematic universes, a sequel to Power Rangers seemed virtually inevitable. Despite mixed reviews and a lackluster domestic box office, where it’s grossed $84.7 million, the franchise reboot could still look forward to release in China and Japan, two markets expected to give a significant boost to its $50.7 million overseas total. But then the Lionsgate film actually opened in China.
Power Rangers debuted Thursday in the world’s second-largest film market with just $1.2 million, a figure so low that Forbes writes that, “barring a post-theatrical miracle” — blockbuster home-video sales — condemns the planned franchise to “one-and-done.”
Debuting in 1993 as Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, the children’s action-adventure series has spawned 19 television sequels, three live-action films, and enough toys and merchandise to generate billions of dollars in sales. A new film franchise seemed like a relatively safe bet, for both rights holder Saban and Lionsgate, at least until the $100 million Power Rangers generated $40 million in its opening weekend in North America, a number that fell by 64 percent in its second frame.
If Lionsgate was looking for a lifeline from China, the studio didn’t find it. Forbes suggests a best-case scenario may be for Power Rangers to ends it theatrical run in China with $10 million. Even with its Japanese premiere still two months away, Forbes predicts the film will be lucky to finish with a worldwide total of $145 million.
Arriving June 13 for digital download and June 2017 on Blu-ray and DVD, director Dean Israelite’s Power Rangers stars Dacre Montgomery as the Red Ranger, Naomi Scott as the Pink Ranger, Ludi Lin as the Black Ranger, R.J. Cyler as the Blue Ranger, Becky G as the Yellow Ranger, Bryan Cranston as Zordon and Elizabeth Banks as Rita Repulsa.
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