Monday Update: Whoda thunk it? Passengers, by any yardstick a serious underperformer, surged on Sunday and now has a five-day tally of $30 million and change. It could rack up another $4 or $5 million today for a grand six-day total of $34 or $35 million — roughly $10 million shy of expectations but a slightly less embarassing performance.
Sunday, 12.25: Morten Tyldum and Jon Spaihts‘ Passengers looked like a tank almost immediately, and the fact that it had only made $11,825,201 after three days of play (12.21 thru 12.23) indicated a serious shortfall. On 12.22 Deadline‘s Anthony D’Allesandro wrote that Passengers had to bring in “$45 to $50 million in its first six days” to maintain a respectable pose. (I’m told that two weeks ago the Sony release was actually tracking to hit $55 million within the first six.)
This morning’s Deadline update projects a four-day tally of $19.3 to $20 million and grand six-day total of $26.6 to $28 million. At best that’s $17 million short of the 12.22 D’Allesandro projection. Passengers, face it, is a dead herring in the moonlight, certainly in relation to cost.
If Tyldum, Spaihts and Sony execs had taken the post-mortem advice of Indiewire‘s David Ehrlich and gone with his alternate ending (i.e., Chris Pratt heroically dies in Act Three and then a year or two later Jennifer Lawrence realizes that she needs to wake someone up herself to avoid a lifetime of solitude), the film would at least have a rich ironic ending, and this might have turned the whole ship around.
The marketing campaign miscalculated in two ways. One, the trailers sold a galactic romance that turned out to have been precipitated by an act of almost ghoulish selfishness on Pratt’s part. Two, the marketers figured that the simple presence of Pratt and Lawrence on the one-sheet was enough to seal the deal. Neither one is hot enough to put arses in seats on their own dimes, and for all its production value the film didn’t cut the mustard.