The quality of a film is only one factor in determining whether or not it will succeed with audiences. Countless other elements can make or break a movie's release, and one of the most vital elements to correctly pin down is its actual premiere date. That is something that Guy Ritchie learned on The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and the King Arthur: Legend of the Sword director recently admitted that the 2015 spy film taught him the importance of getting a movie's release date right. Ritchie explained:
We got burned on the release date for U.N.C.L.E., so I care about release dates. You have a good movie, or what you think is a good movie, and if you don't have a release date, you get in all sorts of trouble.
During a recent conversation with Indiewire, while promoting the release of King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Guy Ritchie opened up and explained how the release date for The Man from U.N.C.L.E. ultimately worked against the film when it debuted back in 2015. Not only was the film an August release (which is typically where studios dump weaker summer projects) but it also had the added disadvantage of opening the same weekend as F. Gary Gray's Straight Outta Compton -- which went on to become a dark horse blockbuster. Those factors ultimately worked to U.N.C.L.E.'s disadvantage, and while the film garnered a respectable amount of praise from fans, it still flopped at the box office.
Sadly, despite Guy Ritchie's best intentions, it appears that we are seeing the same phenomenon occur with the consistently delayed King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. The film finally debuted in theaters today, but early projections for the movie's overall box office performance are not promising. In fact, the odds of it becoming a complete box office bomb are pretty good. Looking at the schedule, it is not hard to see why; this is an insanely competitive summer for movies, and wedging Legend of the Sword between the releases of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Alien: Covenant was always going to be a risky venture.
This has us wondering whether or not summer was ever the right release window for movies like King Arthur or The Man from U.N.C.L.E in the first place. Ritchie saw relatively more success releasing his Sherlock Holmes films during the winter window when the blockbuster slate is somewhat less crowded by franchise films. It's hard to tell if that method would've helped this time around, but it's clear that a model for success was not used on Guy Ritchie's two recent (and lackluster) blockbusters.
We will just have to wait and see how the weekend pans out for Guy Ritchie's latest blockbuster. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is now in theaters.