Despite beloved human Tom Hanks and intergalactic hero-to-be, Felicity Jones, at its helm, the latest cinematic addition to #DanBrown's crime drama franchise, #Inferno, failed to knock Boo! A Madea Halloween from the top spot at the domestic box office this weekend. The $75 million-dollar threequel raked in a mere $15 mill by the weekends close, making Sony's Ron Howard helmed project a total flop. Or at least, that's what the headlines are screaming.
With publications throughout the states labelling the film a "bust" and "bomb" left right and center, it would be easy to mark Inferno as a disaster for the previously successful franchise. And, while one can reason that Halloween is a notoriously unforgiving time for a film's release and yes, the World Series did probably steal some of its limelight, there's one hugely overlooked factor that undoubtably marred the movies U.S reception — it wasn't made for an American audience in the first place.
Skipping past the third book in Dan Brown's novel series — The Lost Symbol, which is set in Washington D.C. — Sony instead chose to move straight to Inferno, filming in the Italian cities of Venice and Florence with a plethora of European actors taking center stage. And, while this move essentially alienates the mainstream American market before even hitting theaters, it's proven to be a solid decision overseas.
In the three weeks since its international debut, Inferno has almost doubled its budget, bringing in a whopping $147 million — and, according to Sony's domestic distribution chief, Rory Bruer, this was the plan all along:
"Certainly, we thought of the film as for the international market. We knew that's where the sweet spot was going to be."
And really, by looking at the success of the film's two predecessors, the decision makes total sense. 2006's The Da Vinci Code, filmed primarily in Paris and England, took $541 million overseas — more than double its domestic gross, and '09's Angels & Demons, set in Rome, banked 76% of its overall takings with a foreign audience. It's no coincidence then, that Inferno is moving down the same path — and hopefully for Sony, perhaps this means it won't be such a meltdown after all.
The synopsis for Inferno is as follows:
Famous symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) follows a trail of clues tied to Dante, the great medieval poet. When Langdon wakes up in an Italian hospital with amnesia, he teams up with Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones), a doctor he hopes will help him recover his memories. Together, they race across Europe and against the clock to stop a madman (Ben Foster) from unleashing a virus that could wipe out half of the world's population.
Check out the trailer below: