Lionsgate shattered expectations with 2017's Power Rangers. Despite its cheesy source material, the director of the film, Dean Israelite put aside the blockbuster action expectations and delivered a film with a foundation built on character development, with the action shenanigans as the cherry on top. While reviews were somewhat mixed, it was evident this could be the promising start of the franchise the studio was so eager to make a reality.
There was even a storyline ready for a sequel, as the post-credits scene teased fans with the arrival of Tommy Oliver, a.k.a. the legendary Green Ranger. Unfortunately, our desire to see the Power Rangers come together on the big screen for a second time is probably not going to come true because...
A Power Rangers Sequel Is Probably Not Going To Happen
#PowerRangers had an estimated budget of $100 million. The film had a strong $40.3 million domestic opening weekend, but its earnings declined rapidly. In its second weekend, it pulled only $14 million, a 64% drop. That translated to a mere $85 million haul domestically and $50.7 million overseas, taking its grand total to $135 million. Accounting the marketing costs and the percentage given to the movie theaters from the tickets, the number wasn't a good sign for the blockbuster.
But there was still a light in the darkness. Power Rangers had yet to open in China - the second biggest market in the world - and Japan. There was hope that, similar to what happened with Pacific Rim, the film would find its footing in international markets.
Sadly, we have learned today that is not the case. Power Rangers just opened in China, and as Forbes revealed, it didn't perform well there either, with a $1.2 million opening day. To put it into perspective, that's $300,000 less than King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, which was also a box office disappointment. According to the report, this slow start could mean a $10 million total haul in China, bringing the film's estimated worldwide total to a mere $145 million.
Now, the movie opens in Japan in two months, but with its slow performance in China, it's doubtful that will help earnings in a significant way, especially with the home media release less than a month away. What does this disappointment mean? Most likely no #PowerRangers2 or the five other sequels already in the planning stages. With that, any hardcore Power Rangers fan or just an individual curious in the franchise might be wondering...
What's Next For The Power Rangers?
Power Rangers flopping was a surprise. It's one of the most popular children's brands around the world and had the nostalgia factor going for it. So if it failed even with all of those advantages, it's hard to imagine what's next for the franchise at this point.
But there is one alternative to it: Home media sales. Films in the past that didn't quite live up to expectations during their theatrical runs have gained traction and become moderate successes due to people picking them up to watch at home. It happened with Pacific Rim (which, as previously mentioned, was a success in international markets), which has earned a whopping $53.5 million in domestic DVD and Blu-Ray sales. Now, we are waiting for its sequel, Pacific Rim: Uprising, to hit theaters next year.
However, there have been cases where home media sales aren't enough to guarantee the future for a property, like 2012's #Dredd. At first a box office disappointment, it became a hit in home media sales, earning $19,622,097 million domestically, a number that got talk about a sequel going. However, after a of debate (five years, to be precise) a sequel was scrapped in favor of a recently-announced TV series.
Being a longtime Power Rangers fan, I fell in love with what the film did with the property. It stripped it of its signature cheesiness and gave audiences five authentic, fleshed-out characters. Even one its most criticized elements, the lack of their signature suits, I saw as the characters actually earning them, something that greatly elevated the moment they finally got to suit up. Ultimately, the movie was an exploration of our main characters as modern teenagers and how they evolve stepping into such a larger-than-life world.
I couldn't wait to see those same storytelling sensibilities applied to a sequel. Of course, like I mentioned above, there is an opportunity for the franchise to continue, but it's still a slim chance. All we can do is wait and see what's next for the big-screen career of our five teenagers with attitude.