How Badly is Paramount Really doing this Year?
A lot has been said about Paramout struggling at the box office these past few years, and much of what has been said has been true, they ARE struggling to find the next big hit to pull them through. Many are spelling doom for the company, especially after Transformers: The Last Knight failed to catch fire at the box office. But are they really doing THAT bad? Or are they just struggling to break out at big as Disney, Universal, WB and Fox are?
I'm going to give a brief breakdown of Paramount's films this year and get to the bottom of whether or not they really are in grave danger or not.
Transformers: The Last Knight
Budget: $217 million
Box Office: $504 million (and counting)
If this film can muster $600 million worldwide it might just barely break even for Paramount theatrically. That said, there is a lot more that comes with the Transformers brand than just tickets sold. The merchandise surrounding these Transformers is probably enough to make this film a success, How many kids do you know out there that don't have at least one Optimus Prime or Bumblebee toy? Not many I would imagine. Strictly from a cinematic standpoint, though, this is indeed a disappointment, but not enough to really cost Paramount anything from a financial standpoint.
Result: Pass (but just barely)
Budget: $69 million
Box Office: $161 million
This is another case of a film doing fine, but costing too much to result in a new franchise. The film was a marked disappointment in North America, but pulled in a significant amount of money overseas. If the film had made it to $200 million, it might have been safe, but it's sputtering out of gas at $161 million. It's not likely that this film is making any money theatrically, but it might just pull through when people catch up with it on blu ray and through streaming services.
xXx: The Return of Xander Cage
Budget: $85 million
Box Office: $346 million
xXx is a bit of an odd duck. This is a case where the film definitely under-performed in North America, but did gang-busters overseas, so much so that a sequel has already been greenlit. The film made $346 million worldwide which is more than enough to call it a success.
Ghost in the Shell
Budget: $110 million
Box Office: $170 million
Ghost in the Shell is a genuine dud all around, which is really too bad because I actually really enjoyed this film. The movie brought in a measly $41 million in North America and was slightly redeemed by its overseas box office take, but not nearly enough to justify it as a success. This isn't Paramount's biggest dud of the year, but it most certainly didn't help anybody from a financial standpoint.
Budget: $125 million
Box Office: $64
Paramount's biggest stinker of the year award goes to Monster Trucks, and just about anybody could have called that going in. I have no idea who thought it was a good idea to make this movie, let alone spend a whopping $125 million to produce it. Monster Trucks only made $64 million worldwide and is a huge black eye on Paramount for the year.
Budget: $25 million
Box Office: $83 million
Since Paramount kept the budget low on this sequel, it actually might have turned a bit of a profit. Rings cost a reasonable $25 million and made $83 million worldwide, a little over three times its budget. They probably didn't make much, but just enough to save their skin.
Now that all of that is out of the way, let's do the math! Now this is by no means an exact science but my general rule of thumb is that if a studio makes three times what they spent to make their movies, they more or less break even. So I'm going to add all of the budgets together for a combined total, and will do the same for all of the money these films have made.
Overall budget: $694 Million
Overall Worldwide Box Office Take: $1.328 Billion
By my overly simplistic math, Paramount would have had to cross 2.082 billion to break even. Sure, Transformers might have another $100 million in the tank, but that doesn't put them anywhere close to being in the black. All that said, I still don't think Paramount is in grave danger, I just think they really need to find their fire again. Let's give it a couple of more years before we really start putting the nails on the coffin.