- Domestic box office: Despite some remarkable make-up artistry, Guillermo del Toro’s Hellboy II: The Golden Army is on its way to becoming one of the year’s most notable commercial disappointments. Despite some newfangled 3D visual effects, so is Eric Brevig’s Journey to the Center of the Earth.
Weekend box office: Hellboy II: The Golden Army & Journey to the Center of the Earth will need lots of help from ‘foreign’ moviegoers
July 11–13 weekend box office: So far this summer, the North American (U.S. and Canada only) box office has had two major success stories: Sony Pictures’ Will Smith superhero movie Hancock and Disney/Pixar’s computer-animated sci-fier WALL-E. Two new releases, however, haven’t been nearly as lucky: Universal’s Guillermo del Toro-directed Hellboy II: The Golden Army and Warner Bros’ Eric Brevig-directed Journey to the Center of the Earth.
As per final studio figures found at boxofficemojo.com, del Toro’s sci-fi action thriller had a deceptively solid start atop this past weekend’s domestic chart: $34.5 million from 3,204 theaters, thus far surpassing the $23.2 million opening-weekend take of its 2004 predecessor, Hellboy.
At no. 3 (also trailing Hancock’s $32.1 million), Brevig’s 3D adventure tale based on Jules Verne’s 1864 novel earned a so-so $21.3 million from 2,811 locations.
But why are these figures so underwhelming?
The budget factor
In the case of Hellboy II: The Golden Army – budget: $85 million (as always, not including marketing and distribution expenses) – domestic debut in the mid $30 million range is hardly an auspicious one.
In the case of Journey to the Center of the Earth – budget: $60 million – a $21 million debut is, once again, hardly an auspicious one.
In other words, these two movies will find it impossible to recover their cost in the domestic market alone. Only international moviegoers can save them – or at least, alleviate their losses at the box office.
But remember … it could always have been worse. Far worse.
Case in point: Starring Eddie Murphy, 20th Century Fox’s $60 million sci-fi comedy Meet Dave debuted at no. 7 this past weekend, raking in $5.3 million from 3,011 venues. A total disaster with little-to-no international future. Brian Robbins directed.
Hellboy II & Journey to the Center of the Earth cast
In the Hellboy II: The Golden Army cast: Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Doug Jones, Jeffrey Tambor, Luke Goss, and veteran two-time Oscar nominee John Hurt (Midnight Express, 1978; The Elephant Man, 1980).
In the Journey to the Center of the Earth 2008 cast: Brendan Fraser, Josh Hutcherson, Anita Briem, and Seth Meyers.
International market can’t quite save Hellboy II
Update: Guillermo del Toro’s Hellboy II: The Golden Army ultimately collected $76 million domestically and $92.3 million internationally, for a worldwide total of $168.3 million. A solid figure, though hardly enough for Hellboy II to recover its total cost at the box office alone.
Its top international markets were the United Kingdom/Ireland ($14 million), Russia/CIS ($8.5 million), Spain ($6.4 million), Mexico (director del Toro’s native country, with $6.2 million), and Germany ($5.9 million).
Note: Box Office Mojo lists Chile with (in relative terms, a whopping) $8.3 million, but this surely looks like a typo, as Hellboy II: The Golden Army failed to top as much as a single weekend in that country.
Journey to the Center of the Earth gets a much-needed boost
Eric Brevig’s Journey to the Center of the Earth ultimately collected $101.7 million domestically and $142.5 million internationally, for a worldwide total of $244.2 million. Thanks to international moviegoers, a moneymaking release.
Its top overseas markets were Mexico ($13.9 million), Italy ($11.7 million), France ($10.8 million), China ($9.9 million), Spain ($9.8 million), and Russia/CIS ($9.1 million).
In all, however, the most notable big-screen transfer of Jules Verne’s classic will likely remain 20th Century Fox’s well-regarded 1959 version starring James Mason, Arlene Dahl, Pat Boone, and Diane Baker under the direction of Henry Levin.
“Box Office: Hellboy II & Journey to the Center of the Earth” endnotes
Unless otherwise noted, “Box Office: Hellboy II & Journey to the Center of the Earth Desperately Need Some Foreign Aid” box office information via Box Office Mojo. Budget info – which should be taken with a grain of salt – via BOM and/or other sources (e.g., the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Screen Daily, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Deadline.com, etc.).
Comments about Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Meet Dave, and other titles being hits/profitable or flops/money-losers at the box office (see paragraph below) are based on the available data about their production budget, additional marketing and distribution expenses (as a general rule of thumb, around 50 percent of the production cost), and worldwide gross (as a general rule of thumb when it comes to the Hollywood studios, around 50–55 percent of the domestic gross and 40 percent of the international gross goes to the distributing/producing companies).
Bear in mind that data regarding rebates, domestic/international sales/pre-sales, and other credits and/or contractual details that help to alleviate/split production costs and apportion revenues are oftentimes unavailable, and that reported international grosses may be incomplete (i.e., not every territory is fully – or even partially – accounted for).
Also bear in mind that ancillary revenues (domestic/global television rights, home video sales, streaming, merchandising, etc.) can represent anywhere between 40–70 percent of a movie’s total take. However, these revenues and their apportionment are only infrequently made public.
Luke Goss Hellboy II: The Golden Army movie image: Universal Pictures.
Brendan Fraser, Josh Hutcherson, and Anita Briem Journey to the Center of the Earth movie image: Warner Bros.
“Box Office: Hellboy II & Journey to the Center of the Earth Desperately Need Some Foreign Aid” last updated in October 2022.