Power Rangers

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  • Directed By: Dean Israelite
  • Written By: John Gatins
  • Release Date: March 24, 2017
  • Domestic Distributor: Lionsgate
  • Cast: Elizabeth Banks, Bryan Cranston, Naomi Scott

Box Office Info:
Budget: $100 million Financed by: Lionsgate
Domestic Gross: $85,364,450 Overseas Gross: $56,972,790

Power Rangers creator Haim Saban, who entered billionaire status because of the massive success of the 90’s broadcast series and merchandise, purchased back the rights to the Power Rangers in 2010.  He brokered a $65 million deal with Disney, which was doing nothing with the property.  In 2014, Lionsgate pitched Saban their take on an expensive Power Rangers reboot, that would spawn a franchise.  Lionsgate quickly dated the movie for a prime July 22, 2016 release date.  Power Rangers was yet another property apart of Lionsgate’s aggressive franchise expansion model that was in development in 2014.  This period of development at Lionsgate yielded franchise non-starters — Gods Of Egypt, Child 44, The Last Witch Hunter and Mortdecai The budget for Power Rangers was $100 million and as per their usual financial model, Lionsgate sold off all overseas distribution during pre-sales, leaving their exposure at $25 million.

In April 2015, while still in pre-production, Lionsgate moved the release back to January 13, 2017.  In December 2015, to capitalize off of kids on Spring Break, Power Rangers was moved to March 24, 2017.

When the first trailer hit in October 2016, it reached more than 150 million views in its first 48 hours and Lionsgate followed with all their marketing muscle to build this into a franchise.  Saban announced that they had developed a “six-movie story arc” and Lionsgate expected anywhere from five to seven Power Rangers movies.  Lionsgate invested heavily into traditional marketing and also partnered with many corporations and organizations to increase exposure.  The mini-major partnered with Krispy Kreme, Game Spot, IGN, Atom Tickets and many more.  There was a “Zords Rising” VR experience from Qualcomm and ReelFX that was showcased at the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas .  A messaging bot was even programmed, based on the Alpha 5 character (I have no idea what the hell Alpha 5 is, sorry Power Rangers fans).  To help spread word of mouth, Lionsgate had 50 early promotional screenings.

Power Rangers received mixed to poor reviews, which has never really hurt the property since 1993 and was tracking for an opening between $30 to $40 million.  It bowed against Life and Chips and opened on the high end of expectations, with a respectable $40,300,288 — placing #2 for the weekend led by the second frame of Beauty And The Beast.  It was all bad news for Power Rangers after its second session, where it was massively front loaded and sank 64.8% $14,200,307.  It declined 56.3% in its third frame to $6,199,403 and closed its domestic run with $85,364,450.  Lionsgate would see returned about $46.9 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross.  After ancillary sales, Lionsgate would probably break even.

While Lionsgate will likely emerge unscathed from Power Rangers, the film was outright rejected in the international market.  It had tanked in almost every international territory and an absurd hurtle to profitability was thrown its way in the Russian market, where it was slapped with an adults only rating of 18+ because the movie featured a character that was gay.  A belated China release was the last hope for the picture to reach the black, but it bombed with $4.2 million.  The final offshore cume stalled at $56.9 million.

As for the future of the series, dozens of overseas distributors which ponied up the majority of the budget through pre-sales, lost their investment into Power Rangers.  No entity which lost capital from the first installment would fund the next one.  Lionsgate will barely come out ahead on this project and it looks like Power Rangers will end up as another Lionsgate would-be franchise.  Lionsgate canceled the Divergent Series after Allegiant ($110 million budget) pulled in $179 million.  The Last Witch Hunter has outgrossed Power Rangers, which should help put the series future in perspective.


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