Power Rangers, to the surprise of many, fared reasonably well critically. Unfortunately the same couldn't be said for its box office run. The movie pulled in only $140 million globally against a $100 million budget, and not even its run in China managed to save it.
There was a lot of buzz around the reboot prior to hitting theaters, so people wondered what could have possibly gone wrong to have had such a disappointing financial outcome. According to director #DeanIsraelite, that failure can be pinned on its PG-13 rating.
Surprisingly, however, it's not because he thought it would have done better had it been a darker, R-rated version. In an interview with Screen Rant, Israelite was asked whether he felt the PG-13 rating hurt the movie's chances at the box office by alienating parents of younger audiences looking for something tamer for their kids:
"Yes, definitely. Definitely. And not only do I think it, but there’s been market studies on it, and the findings have been that if the movie were rated PG –– I don’t want to go into the specific numbers –– but if the movie had been rated PG, there would have been more traffic. I think parents were unsure if they could bring their kids to the movie, which surprised me, because the movie is a tame PG-13."
An Unexpected Outcome
The movie's apparent failure with younger audiences came as a total surprise, as children had responded quite well to the story during test screenings. They were scared by Elizabeth Banks' #RitaRepulsa while also enjoying the movie as a whole, and so the breakdown with translating that to parents was really the sticking point:
"We did a lot of preview screenings, and to me, it felt like a seven-year-old might be scared, but in a good way. They liked that they were scared of Rita, but they still came out of the movie enjoying it, they liked what was going on. I think we really tread that line well, so it was disappointing that parents didn’t know that they could take their kids to it."
Most likely looking at movies like 2012's Dredd as inspiration, Israelite expressed his desire to see the film find its audience once it gets released in home video.
"I’m hoping now, with it coming out on DVD and Blu-ray, and On Demand, that parents will feel more comfortable. That maybe they’ll check it out for themselves and then see that it’s suitable."
Was The Rating Truly Responsible For The Movie's Financial Shortcomings?
Probably not. I have no doubt some parents were hesitant to take their children to what they may have perceived as an adult take on the Rangers, but the film's financial failure seems to stem from two main factors: One, there wasn't enough broad interest outside of the preexisting fanbase to really generate box office numbers. And two—and this is where the rating does come in—it never created an audience. Its original fanbase is older now, well into adulthood, and a darker, R-rated take would have served that demographic well. Yet without a PG rating, like Israelite said, a potentially brand-new audience of younger kids was eliminated. It needed to commit to one or the other and playing it safe right down the middle with the PG-13 rating is what ultimately became its undoing.
Power Rangers will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on June 23, 2017.
What would you have done differently with Power Rangers? Let me know in the comments!
[Source: Screen Rant]