Monday, 26 September 2016

Box Office Breakdown: The Magnificent Seven

It is telling just how dire a position the western genre is in that The Magnificent Seven's $35 million debut has been announced by many as a great victory. With a $90 million budget not including advertising costs, this debut would be considered the bare minimum needed from a film of a more commercial genre. Frankly though, the western can be considered anything but in this day and age. With a few notable exceptions such as Quentin Tarantino's 2013 hit Django Unchained, the western has produced a string of flops in recent years that count the likes of The Lone Ranger, A Million Ways to Die in the West, and Cowboys & Aliens among their number.

With this in mind, even with box office heavyweights like Chris Pratt and Denzel Washington attached, The Magnificent Seven was far from a safe bet for box office success. Therefore, I would speculate the warm congratulations the film has received for its frankly bog-standard debut over the weekend, a product of industry relief that they can again declare a blockbuster to be not an outright flop -- something they didn't get many chances to do over the summer movie season.

And to be fair, The Magnificent Seven  cannot be considered a flop at this point in time. This debut is unremarkable but not necessarily bad, however the executives at Sony and MGM should pause for thought before they prematurely raise any celebratory banners. With a predicted final domestic gross for The Magnificent Seven looking to be somewhere between the $110-$130 million mark, this feature will need significant support from overseas audiences to turnover any major profit (or indeed any profit at all). This is something that few Westerns have been able to gain in recent years, with most struggling to get past $100 million internationally, meaning in a best case scenario The Magnificent Seven is currently looking at a total worldwide gross under $250 million (and we can assume it will need at least $225 to start making profit).

All things said then, The Magnificent Seven is shaping up to be the most modest of hits for Sony and MGM, but as we leave a summer dominated by financial disappointments (at best) and huge disasters (at worst), a film making any profit whatsoever appears to be newsworthy.


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