Home Blog 4 Reasons Out of the Shadows Failed To Impress Some Audiences

4 Reasons Out of the Shadows Failed To Impress Some Audiences

by Justin W
Mikey tries "squirrel" formation and it doesn't go so well. Source: Paramount Pictures

“It’s never a good sign when you can’t pull in a full house for a free screening.”

That is an actual quote that I overheard at the premiere for the film. Nobody wanted this movie to succeed more than I did. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is perhaps one of the most accurate representations we have ever seen of the Ninja Turtles on the big screen, but not every audience agrees with that.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows poster. Source: Paramount Pictures.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows poster. Source: Paramount Pictures.

After dismal numbers during its opening weekend, I recently reported that the movie had bombed – and that’s a fair statement to make. Although the term “box office bomb” typically refers to a film’s entire theatrical run, one only needs to look at the history behind foreign box office numbers to see that even in the greatest situation, it will be difficult for this movie to earn its money back at the box office.

I have no doubt that Out of the Shadows will manage to justify its production budget within the next few weeks, but the production budget does not account for the costs of advertising and distribution. All told, it’s likely that this movie will need to earn at least $500 million to truly be considered successful by the studios, and that looks to be very unlikely.

The first movie made $65 million during its opening weekend in domestic markets alone, and it only managed to pull in a total of $493 million total at the box office. So far, Out of the Shadows has performed far worse than its predecessor, indicating that it might not even earn that much once all is said and done.

If you’re trying to figure out what happened here, you’re not alone. With that in mind, I’ve decided to provide my own list of reasons that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows might have failed to impress certain audiences, resulting in numbers that don’t look very awesome.

1. Too Much Advertising

If the first TMNT movie suffered from a lack of advertising (and it most certainly did), the second movie actually had too much of it. There were dozens of TV Spots, trailers and clips for the movie, resulting in a market that was almost over-saturated with all things TMNT 2.

Some reviewers even stated that they felt like they had already seen the entire movie in the advertisements, and it’s not difficult to see where they are coming from. Even one of the biggest moments in the film was shared on Youtube via clips, which might leave some audiences asking why they should even go to see the movie.

2. First Film Soured TMNT Fans

Although a lot of shellheads absolutely loved the 2014 film, the truth is that many audiences did not enjoy it. Several fans outright refused to support Out of the Shadows simply because it was a sequel to that movie. The relative authenticity of TMNT 2 simply wasn’t a factor for this audience, as they took issue with other aspects behind the production of the film.

For instance, a lot of people really dislike Michael Bay, and they simply refuse to see anything with his name on it – even if he’s just an executive producer. The look and feel of these CGI Ninja Turtles was also a big problem for many potential viewers, and neither Paramount or Platinum Dunes were willing to change much about that.

3. Focused Too Heavily On One Audience

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have changed a lot over the years. One might even say that they are in a constant state of flux. Some fans prefer the original Mirage comics, others like the 1987 cartoon; some swear by the 4Kids series while many fans are enamored with the original films of the 1990s. Each of these representations of the Ninja Turtles is wildly different in its own way, which means that it is difficult to produce anything related to the franchise without potentially offending or disappointing at least one of those fan communities. Nickelodeon managed to pull it off quite well, but that kind of success is difficult to recreate on film.

This was not the Shredder that some fans wanted to see in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows. Source: Paramount Pictures.

This was not the Shredder that some fans wanted to see in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows. Source: Paramount.

It’s not as easy as you might think to please all TMNT fans at once; believe me, I’m always unintentionally offending someone with almost anything that I write. Out of the Shadows focused heavily on recreating the ’87 cartoon in live action, leaving little room for any other representation of the Ninja Turtles. This appears to have alienated a lot of fans who prefer a more gritty take on the turtles, with many saying that they would have preferred something closer to either the Mirage comics or the 4Kids series. When it comes to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, you simply can’t please everyone.

4. Too Much Competition

While the first movie came out in the late summer, this one is smack dab in the middle of summer blockbuster territory. The 2014 film was released the week after Guardians of the Galaxy – which was pretty stiff competition – but Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles still managed to produce pretty good results.

Movie poster for upcoming movie Finding Dory. Source: Disney/Pixar.

Movie poster for upcoming movie Finding Dory. Source: Disney/Pixar.

Out of the Shadows was released the week after X-men: Apocalypse, which was definitely more successful during its opening weekend, but it wasn’t as much of a runaway hit as GOTG. That being said, it’s important to remember that Captain America: Civil War is still in theaters as well, which means that there are currently no fewer than three comic book movies in theaters at the same time.

In addition to the comic book movies, Angry Birds also presents a bit of competition. Next week, Out of the Shadows will be facing off against Warcraft, a movie based on a video game franchise. The week after that, we are likely to see a large drop off in box office numbers for the film as Pixar’s Finding Dory will be hitting the silver screen.

Shortly thereafter, you can expect to see Independence Day: Resurgence in theaters alongside Steven Spielberg’s BFG. These are huge titles that are likely to make it difficult for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows to compete in the box office.

In comparison, the 2014 TMNT movie only had titles like The Expendables 3, The Giver and Let’s Be Cops to face in the weeks following its release. As you can see, the competition for Out of the Shadows is going to be a lot more difficult to overcome, and chances are that even a strong showing in foreign markets won’t help the studios earn back all of the money they have invested. The competition is simply too fierce right now, and that could have a seriously negative impact on the film’s performance in the box office.


The last thing I want to do is call this movie a failure when it still has a chance to prove successful after all is said and done. We still have yet to see the numbers from China, and that is likely to represent at least $40-$60 million in ticket sales. However, even when you factor in the potential foreign sales for the film, that figure isn’t likely to be enough to represent a significant ROI.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows movie poster. Source: Paramount Pictures.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows movie poster. Source: Paramount Pictures.

Even if it manages to perform well during its second weekend at the box office, chances are that by the time Finding Dory comes out, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows will be struggling to compete in any meaningful way when it comes to domestic numbers.

I absolutely loved Out of the Shadows, but we need to be realistic about what is happening here. Not only is this movie likely to perform worse than its predecessor, but there are several reasons for that which need to be addressed.

Several TMNT fan communities feel under-represented, and that is truly a shame. For those of you who believe I am being preemptive, I apologize if anything that I have written has offended you – but for those who are still waiting for a silver screen representation of your favorite turtles, I can’t necessarily blame you for being upset.

Ultimately, there are many reasons that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows underwhelmed at the box office during its opening weekend. Some of these issues will continue to affect ticket sales in the weeks to come, while others could slowly dissipate over time.

Paramount is likely to make a lot of money off of merchandise related to the film, so chances are that they will earn a decent profit in the end. Unfortunately, that profit isn’t likely to reveal itself until several months have passed and the film is no longer in theaters.

What do you think? Will Out of the Shadows manage to turn a profit in the end? Are these valid reasons for the results we have seen thus far? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below or on facebook/twitter.

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lobo_d_b June 7, 2016 - 10:33 pm

When I was a kid I loved de 80s cartoon, now I can’t watch it, is too childish, I prefer the 2003 or the new nickelodeon cartoon. So the movie just made the turtles for little kids …

Brie-chan June 8, 2016 - 2:43 pm

Blame the parents that suffered from Toy Story 3 Syndrome. Toy Story 3 was rated G by the MPAA in 2010. Millions of parents took their small children, thinking it was another silly Toy Story adventure. They got more than what they bargained for; kids were crying due to a few scary moments (called CONFLICT), and parents demanded a refund from the managers, and even wrote angry letters to the MPAA. That’s why many of Hollywood’s movies aimed at kids suck these days. (Zootopia is an exception, and is now a personal favorite on my list of top ten Disney films.) The best films have conflict in them, whereas the worst films have that “Approved For Your ADHD and Sensory Processing Disorder” Kid Stamp. Hollywood knows what these parents want, and it is not fair on the people who actually want some quality entertainment, but can’t get it because it’s canned by angry parents that say it’s not suitable for their children. It’s the McCarthy Rating system all over again.

Pyrenees Gal (TMNT2012Obsessio June 8, 2016 - 1:38 pm

I liked this movie. It was a lot better than the first one. First one, I wanted to barf and throw rocks at the people behind that movie. This movie, I don’t feel the urge to do that. They are safe………….for now……

Rosemarie June 14, 2016 - 12:21 am

i saw the movie too. Although i must admit, i understand the constructive critique about the plot and story line…

JrodBaby June 8, 2016 - 3:08 pm

I think is was a good movie; I think the disappointments from SvB Xmen contributed to the low sales of this movie, and the market is saturated with superhero movies at the moment. These movies we’re supposed to be great, but they weren’t, and I think the sour taste left in some fans mouths, left them thinking that this movie would be more disappointing than the first of the franchise, so why bother. It was a little childish, but it was also bad ass at times, I felt like it was a lead up to the third movie, which I hope comes out, as the ending was very anti climatic. But overall as turtle movies go, this is my 2nd favorite, and it feels closer to how Turtles 2 of the 90’s should’ve been.

NUMBER ONE TMNT FAN June 11, 2016 - 12:13 pm

PREACH! I salute you! I do feel this is how turtles 2 of the 90’s should’ve been, and I agree that over-saturation and previous disappointing films can be to blame.

Rosemarie June 14, 2016 - 12:23 am

Yo, number one, how come you don’t hollar back at me no more.

Dustin June 9, 2016 - 12:55 am

I wasn’t impressed with Krang’s new voice. He wasn’t a loud mouth who yelled – he was an alien and had a creepy voice to match. The movie was lacking there. After going through the trouble to bring Rocksteady and Bebop and Krang’s to the screen you’d think they’d kept the voice the same since that was a trademark of the character.

Bryan TheBigBDS Swayn June 10, 2016 - 2:28 am

Yeah wonder if they even thought to ask Pat Fraley or why they didn’t just use the first dude they has initially cast in the first place? Like wtf lol

NUMBER ONE TMNT FAN June 11, 2016 - 12:10 pm

I agree with all these reasons. it’s really a shame.

Cutch June 16, 2016 - 7:03 pm

Why is the IDW comic always left out of these discussuons? If they wanted to please fans of both the gritty and the silly versions of TMNT, IDW comics would have been the perfect source material for the movie. It is by far the best iteration of TMNT that exists. Has all the cool elements from all the other versions and none of the bad parts.

211of211 June 20, 2016 - 10:03 pm

I loved it. It’s my favorite TMNT movie to date. I think the biggest problem is how big of a disappointment the 2014 movie was. People had an idea that it was going to be that again, and passed. This is very disappointing, because as far as I’m concerned this is the best turtle movie we’re ever going to get. This should have been the first movie. It’s way better than the first, but because of that big hunk of junk this one ends up suffering for it. Unfortunately Hollywood’s too stupid to realize this, and will think that the problem is the movie itself, when nothing could be further from truth. The first movie was the problem. Yes, this one catered more to the classic cartoon fans, but most kids ( mine included) like the classic cartoon too. and even though my kid likes the Nick Turtles more, he still loved Out if the Shadows. Thanks to the 2014 disaster though, this movie will be seen as a failure, and we’ll never again get another turtle movie this good.

NinjaTutrleLover October 6, 2017 - 9:06 pm

The list above doesn’t even cover all the issues with this movie . I like the first one from 2014 except for two things 1) Michael Bay and 2) Megan Fox as April. This movie they butched all the characters and story . You bring back Megan fox again , who looks more like a porn star than reporter April O’neal. Shredder got little to no screen time and didn’t even fight the turtles this time . The turtles didn’t even fight that much or fight the foot clan . Bebop and Rocksteady were annoying and just as quickly gone and kept saying “my Man” over and over again . Splinter didn’t even fight this time around and just sat there like a puppet from the 90s . and the worst was what they did to Casey Jones … a whiney cop or security guard , whatever he was , who looks NOTHING like the Casey Jones we love and was just annoying as hell. If they can fix all these issues , I’m willing to give a live action Ninja Turtles another chance .

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