- Robin Hood box office: Directed by Ridley Scott, and featuring a prestigious cast headed by Oscar winners Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett, the costly period actioner is on its way to becoming Universal Pictures’ latest mega-money-loser. The silver lining: Things could have been much worse without the international market.
- In other domestic box office news, Letters from Juliet and, particularly, Just Wright, have delivered underwhelming performances. The former features Amanda Seyfried and Gael García Bernal; the latter features Queen Latifah and Common.
Robin Hood box office: Starring Russell Crowe, latest big-screen portrayal of the legendary outlaw to become Universal’s latest big-time money-loser
May 14–16 weekend box office (cont.): Directed by three-time Oscar nominee Ridley Scott, and starring Oscar winners Russell Crowe (Gladiator, 2000) and Cate Blanchett (The Aviator, 2004), Universal Pictures’ period actioner Robin Hood grossed $36.1 million from 3,503 theaters according to final studio figures found at boxofficemojo.com.
This fifth Ridley Scott-Russell Crowe collaboration (following Gladiator, A Good Year, American Gangster, and Body of Lies) thus trailed another male-centered, mega-budget action flick, Marvel/Paramount’s Jon Favreau-directed Iron Man 2, the no. 1 title with $52 million on its second weekend out.
Robin Hood’s underwhelming domestic debut must have left Universal suits less than ecstatic, as not only it failed to match the $40 million pundits had been expecting but it was also deeply unsatisfying for a movie that reportedly cost a whopping $237 million (around $200 million after rebates; as always, not including marketing and distribution expenses).
Luckily for the studio, Robin Hood is performing much better overseas, having raked in an estimated $74 million. But will that be enough to offset its mammoth budget?
How far will the arrow fly?
And that’s why prospects for Robin Hood, which opened the Cannes Film Festival last week (where it was generally panned by critics), remain far from stellar.
Compounding matters, if this mega-production ends up in the red at the box office – as it’s all but inevitable – it’ll become Universal’s latest bomb, following the costly dud Green Zone, the costly fiasco The Wolfman, and the less costly but no less unpopular Leap Year and Repo Men.
Also in the Robin Hood cast: Oscar winner William Hurt (Kiss of the Spider Woman, 1985), Mark Strong, Oscar Isaac, Danny Huston, Eileen Atkins, Mark Addy, Matthew Macfadyen, Kevin Durand, Scott Grimes, and Oscar-nominated veteran Max von Sydow (Pelle the Conqueror, 1988).
An aside: The three most noteworthy big-screen versions of the medieval British legend are Allan Dwan’s silent hit Robin Hood (1922), with Douglas Fairbanks and Enid Bennett; Michael Curtiz and William Keighley’s Oscar-nominated The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), with Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland; and Kevin Reynolds’ Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991), a commercial (but not critical) success with Kevin Costner and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio.
International market can’t quite prevent Robin Hood from being squashed under its budgetary weight
Update: The Ridley Scott-Russell Crowe collaboration Robin Hood ultimately scored $105.3 million domestically and $216.4 million internationally, for a worldwide total of $321.7 million.
Though a respectable figure, that wasn’t enough to cover the period actioner’s reported production budget, let alone marketing and distribution expenses that were likely in the near-nine-figure range.
Were it not for the international market, Robin Hood would have been one of Universal’s biggest bombs ever. But then again, were it not for the international market, Robin Hood would never have gotten off the ground to begin with.
Robin Hood’s biggest overseas territories were the United Kingdom/Ireland ($23.2 million), France ($18.2 million), Australia ($15.6 million), Germany ($15.3 million), Italy ($14.7 million), Spain ($13.7 million), Russia/CIS ($11.9 million), South Korea ($9.3 million), Mexico ($8.8 million), Brazil ($8 million), and Japan ($7.1 million).
More modest box office chart newcomers: Letters to Juliet & Just Wright
Now, this past weekend wasn’t all about loud and boisterous mega-budget fare, as attested by the wide-release debuts of Summit Entertainment’s Gary Winick-directed romantic comedy-drama Letters to Juliet, featuring Amanda Seyfried and Gael García Bernal, and Fox Searchlight’s Sanaa Hamri-directed romantic comedy Just Wright, featuring Oscar nominee Queen Latifah (Chicago, 2002) and Common.
Trailing Iron Man 2 and Robin Hood, the poorly received Letters to Juliet brought in a mediocre $13.5 million from 2,968 venues (average: $4,562). Budget: $30 million.
For comparison’s sake: Lasse Hallström’s Dear John – which also revolves around letters, romance, and Amanda Seyfried – scored nearly twice as much on its debut weekend about three months ago.
Also in the Letters to Juliet cast: Christopher Egan, Oscar winner Vanessa Redgrave (Julia, 1977), and veterans Fabio Testi (That Most Important Thing: Love) and Franco Nero (Redgrave’s current real-life husband and former lover [they’d met during the making of Camelot in the mid-1960s]).
Trailing Letters to Juliet at no.4, the critically panned Just Wright brought in an also mediocre $8.3 million from 1,831 venues (average: $4,524). Budget: $12 million. Also in the cast: Paula Patton and veteran Pam Grier (Foxy Brown, and, more recently, Jackie Brown).
Box office disappointment & box office bomb
Update: Letters to Juliet ultimately took in a less-than-stellar $53 million domestically and a mere $26.3 million internationally, for a worldwide total of $79.3 million.
In all, the romantic comedy-drama was a modest money-loser at the box office.
Just Wright, for its part, was a total box office disaster. The Queen Latifah-Common romantic comedy collected a meager $21.5 million domestically and, as so often happens with American movies targeting local black audiences, it was barely screened internationally (reported gross: $44,100). Worldwide total: $21.6 million.
In all, Just Wright was a definite money-loser despite its low budget.
“Robin Hood Box Office: Universal’s Latest Costly Flop” notes
Unless otherwise noted, “Robin Hood Box Office: Universal’s Latest Costly Flop” 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 Robin Hood, Letters to Juliet, Just Wright, 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.
Russel Crowe Robin Hood movie image: Universal Pictures.
Amanda Seyfried Letters to Juliet movie image: Summit Entertainment.
“Robin Hood Box Office: Universal’s Latest Costly Flop” last updated in September 2023.