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This year has been relatively hit or miss for silver screen heroes. While movies like Civil War and Suicide Squad made insane profits, others didn't fare quite as well. One such box office dud came in the form of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, which underperformed to a $493 million gross against a $125 million budget. The film's performance was a shock to the producers, and it seems that they still don't fully understand it. Producer Andrew Form explained:
We were obviously surprised at the box office results. We loved the movie. We loved making the movie. From our first Super Bowl teaser to everything we launched, we felt so good about our material, and for some reason it did not find the audience that the first movie found. And we talk about it all the time, and we tried to figure it out, but we cannot put our finger on what happened. We really can't. It's just one of those things where we feel like we made a really great movie; we thought at the time that our release date was great, and we added all these new characters with Bebop and Rocksteady and Baxter Stockwell had a big role in the movie and Casey Jones and for some reason when it came to opening weekend...Even before the movie came out, we were feeling great. And you wake up two days before the movie opens and you go, 'Wow, I don't know if this movie is tracking as well as it should.' Then you hope, and then Thursday night happens and your midnights come in and you're like, 'That's not what Movie 1 did,' and then sure enough your weekend comes and it's nowhere near what anyone thought, and it's nowhere near Movie 1, and, before you know it, it's over. We're still so proud of the movie; it just didn't find an audience. We really don't know why.
During a recent conversation with Collider to discuss the release of Ouija: Origin of Evil, Andrew Form addressed the lackluster box office performance of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows. Prior to the release of the latest TMNT adventure, they felt really good about the project; they liked the film that they had made, and they assumed that it would perform as well as the initial Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie in 2014. Once the movie hit theaters and fizzled, they really couldn't explain the failure.
One of the major lessons learned from this film seems to be the fact that more does not always mean better. Out of the Shadows introduced a ton of classic Turtles elements (from Casey Jones to Bebop and Rocksteady) to the silver screen universe, but many vital aspects of the material got lost in the shuffle due to overcrowding and tonal inconsistencies. Look no further than Krang for an example of this. Despite the fact that he was the primary antagonist of the movie, he pretty much completely disappeared for the film's entire second act. Nostalgia is great, but it doesn't work if a movie is mishandled.
Whatever the reason for Out of the Shadows' failure, the franchise will clearly have to retool going forward. We will keep you posted regarding the future of the series as more information becomes available.