Title: Monster Hunter
Directed By: Paul W.S. Anderson
Written By: Paul W.S. Anderson, Kaname Fujioka
Release Date: December 18, 2020
Domestic Distributor: Screen Gems, SonyPictures
Cast: Milla Jovovich, Tony Jaa, Ron Perlman, T.I., Diego Boneta, Meagan Good, Josh Helman
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Box Office Information
- Budget: $60 Million
- Financed by: Constantin Film
- Domestic Box Office Gross: $15,162,470
- Overseas Box Office Gross: $26,983,489
An adaptation of Capcom’s best-selling Monster Hunter series, Paul W.S. Anderson’s latest film stars his wife, Milla Jovovich, and Tony Jaa, in an all-action visually spectacular action-adventure film.
Transported via a portal into a strange new world, Lt. Artemis and her loyal soldiers engage in a desperate bid for survival against numerous monster enemies with extraordinary powers.
In a desperate bid to get home, and faced with unrelenting attacks, the warriors are forced to fight back and regain control – enlisting the help of a mysterious hunter whose skills have allowed him to adapt in this terrifying world.
Directed and produced by Paul W.S. Anderson, Monster Hunter was eventually released in the United States late in 2020, on December 18th – having been delayed and then pulled forward for a Christmas release.
Yet another movie braving the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic – the film had already made waves in China, but for all the wrong reasons. Hopes of big numbers coming from the Chinese box office were dashed after the film was almost immediately pulled post its December 4th China release.
The reason? An apparent outcry after a line of dialogue (“Look at my knees…”) was taken as deeply insulting to Chinese audiences.
Seemingly, cancel culture is not only a Western phenomenon!
Monster Hunter Box Office Numbers
Monster Hunter’s box office numbers are far from impressive.
With a production budget of some $60 million and a worldwide box office 0.7 times the production budget, the movie took $15,162,470 domestically and grossed $26,983,489 overseas.
The film played to 1,736 theatres in its opening weekend and took $2,201,269 (14.6% of total gross).
The film played to a total of 1,817 theatres domestically and took a domestic share of some 34%.
Having ranked first in its opening weekend, Monster Hunter dropped to fourth in its second weekend – with an average weekend domestic gross of $1,360,792 based on an 11.1 weeks average run per theatre.
Monster Hunter was released to a total of 18 countries internationally, with the main markets being China, with a lifetime gross of $4,830,000 (despite being pulled), Japan $2,337,141, and Taiwan $1,500,000.
It’s a Wrap
$2,201,269 in its opening weekend. That’s right, $2,201,269 domestic gross in its opening weekend.
Monster Hunter, based on a less well-known property, was never going to do a Resident Evil in China or anywhere else. But, by way of comparison, the first Resident Evil movie – also directed by Anderson and released back in 2002 – took $17,707,106.
Fast-forward to 2019 and Terminator: Dark Fate – one of that year’s biggest flops – managed $29,033,832 opening weekend.
So when you’re looking at movies taking in the order of 10% of previous weekend openings you know that the industry is really struggling through. Further discussion on marketing spend, prints, residuals/overheads seems pointless in the midst of the ongoing pandemic gripping Hollywood.
The likelihood of a franchise being forthcoming is also slim given the numbers.
In the final analysis, it is clear that Monster Hunter was a loss domestically for Constantin – with the ongoing pandemic and theatre closures yet again grinding down the numbers.
That said, the intention had been to recoup production costs by exploiting the overseas (Chinese) market – which at the time had all but recovered and was showing signs of robustness.
To date, the intended re-release – omitting the apparent racial slur – has been put on hold.
A painful lesson perhaps, and certainly a missed opportunity to recoup the domestic losses.