Guy Ritchie and medieval settings may be wildly popular on their own, but apparently they don't make for a winning combination. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword opened to what can only be described as an underwhelming reception, with box office sales reported to be completely abysmal amidst scathing reviews from critics.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the movie raked in a measly $15.4 million domestically, with similarly abysmal numbers reported overseas. At this rate, it's expected to lose a potential $150 million against its $175 million budget. You don't have to be a math genius to realize that's a veritable box office bomb.
Meanwhile, critics haven't held back in their critiques of the epic fantasy tale. Its rating on Rotten Tomatoes is currently at 26% and still falling. But what's worse is that Guy Ritchie had intended to create a six-movie King Arthur franchise. So where does Ritchie stand now?
Big Dreams Make For Big Disappointment
According to Deadline, Ritchie had intended on expanding the mythos of King Arthur into six separate films, with each one focusing on a separate character from the iconic Arthurian legends.
This would mean even more cockney medieval anthologies from Ritchie, exploring the tumultuous times of Lancelot, Merlin and all manner of folk figures. But considering the first installment has already cost Warner Bros. a pretty penny, serious doubts have been cast over the future of an expanded universe, with unconfirmed reports claiming the studio have sworn off any possibility of a King Arthur franchise. It looks like audiences will have to rely on HBO for their fix of swords and swear words.
How Did It All Go So Wrong?
As disappointed as Ritchie may be to have his King Arthur dreams crushed, it's hardly surprising. There were a number of factors that contributed to the film's seemingly inevitably failure.
First of all, the budget was insane. King Arthur is a veritable CGI fest, complete with epic computer-generated landscapes, mighty battles and even giant elephants — none of which comes cheap. Sure, Ritchie has achieved auteur status thanks to his trademark cinematography; but things got a little out of hand with his latest foray into fantasy.
Not to mention that Ritchie was taking quite a gamble with the genre alone. There's been so many interpretations of King Arthur's story in the past— was now really the time to bring it back yet again? Sure, medieval narratives are all the rage right now; but audiences might just want something a little more unique. More importantly, there was no telling how Ritchie's signature style would merge with a medieval fantasy setting. Spoiler alert: not very well.
But the final nail in the coffin has to be the competition. Opening around the same time as the much-anticipated Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was not the best move. And judging from the current numbers, it would seem that a lot of people would prefer to see Guardians for a second time than even give King Arthur a chance.
What did you think of King Arthur?