After months of writing about the film and even speculating how successful it might be, it is truly disappointing to see how poorly Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 has performed at the box office. Even the experts were baffled about this result, as it was expected that Out of the Shadows would earn at least $50 million over the weekend. In reality, the movie only managed to pull in $35 million in North America and $33 million in foreign markets. This is a significant and unexpected failure for a lot of reasons, and it could have a negative impact on future ventures into the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise.
First of all, it’s important to note that Paramount worked with distributors all over the world to get this movie out in as many markets as possible for its release. Despite the reach that this film had, it still failed to make more money in foreign markets than it did in North America. That’s fairly surprising, because most superhero/action flicks see much better foreign numbers. For example, more than 70% of the opening weekend earnings for X-men: Apocalypse came from foreign markets, which is actually fairly typical at this point in the film industry. By comparison, only 48% of the earnings for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 came from the foreign box office.
As you can see, this is a really strange occurrence. To put it bluntly, this kind of failure rarely ever happens nowadays, especially when there are a lot of fans and viewers who genuinely seem interested in seeing the film. Heck, even Fantastic Four earned more money in foreign markets than it did in North America. Considering the amount of effort that was put into marketing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2, it’s actually quite bewildering to see these kinds of results. Although there were genuine complaints about the film from some TMNT fans, it’s difficult to understand how a movie like this could fail so hard at the box office.
It’s also difficult to figure out if this will have a negative impact on the franchise. Although the first film failed miserably last year, Fox is still working on a sequel to Fantastic Four; if Fox is willing to put that kind of stock into a franchise, we might see Paramount doing the same for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Another big factor to consider is all of the movie tie-in merchandise that is currently hitting the shelves. If the toys sell well enough, they might actually make enough money overall to consider this sequel a success.
That being said, you have to figure that those toys will need to sell very well in order to make up for investments not only in production of the film, but also in advertising. Unlike the 2014 film which had notably sparse advertising that was indicative of a lower budget, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 had a lot of ads being pumped out. Heck, that might even be one of the big reasons that the movie failed to impress during its opening weekend, but I’ll save that discussion for another day. For now, suffice it to say that a worldwide opening weekend of less than $70 million for a film with a production budget estimated at $135 million is definitely a disappointment.