- The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader movie box office: Directed by veteran Michael Apted, the third installment in the mega-budget fantasy adventure series is evidence that The Chronicles of Narnia continues to lose steam in the domestic market. But will international moviegoers show up in enough numbers to rescue it?
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader movie box office: Mega-budget fantasy adventure has disastrous domestic debut
Dec. 10–12 weekend box office: Based on C.S. Lewis’ 1952 Christian-tinged novel, 20th Century Fox’s fantasy adventure The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader – the first Narnia movie released in 3D (though shot in 2D) – easily topped the North American (U.S. and Canada only) box office chart as per final studio figures found at boxofficemojo.com.
That’s the good news for Fox and production companies Walden Media, Dune Entertainment, and Fox 2000 Pictures, which have invested on this mega-release budgeted at a reported $155 million (as always, not including marketing and distribution expenses).
Now, the bad news: Cooly received by critics, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader managed to top the domestic chart – with $24 million from 3,555 theaters – merely because its key competitor, Sony Pictures’ critically lambasted $100 million romantic spy thriller The Tourist, was an even bigger commercial dud – $16.5 million from 2,756 locations – despite the presence of Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie.
But is a $24 million weekend debut that bad?
It’s worse. For starters, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader was expected to earn $40 million or whereabouts. Adding insult to injury, $24 million is a dismal figure in relation to the film’s cost, especially when one takes into account 3D surcharges.
Lagging behind previous Chronicles of Narnia movies
For comparison’s sake:
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures and budgeted at $180 million, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe opened with $65.6 million in early December 2005, ending its run with $291.7 million domestically and $453.3 million internationally. Worldwide total: A hugely profitable $745 million.
Also distributed by the Walt Disney Studios and budgeted at $225 million, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian opened with $55 million in mid-May 2008, ending its run with $141.6 million domestically and $278 million internationally. Worldwide total: A far less impressive – and hardly profitable –$419.6 million.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is sure to continue the series’ downward trend in the domestic market. What remains unclear is whether 3D-obsessed international moviegoers will rally to save this threequel.
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader movie cast
Directed by veteran Michael Apted (the Up documentary series, Coal Miner’s Daughter), The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader features Skandar Keynes, Georgie Henley, Ben Barnes, Will Poulter, Gary Sweet, Simon Pegg, Laura Brent, and Nathaniel Parker, in addition to cameos by William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, and Oscar winner Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton, 2007).
Oscar nominee Liam Neeson (Schindler’s List, 1993) provides the voice of the Great Lion Aslan.
Lastly, it should be noted that Andrew Adamson directed both The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian.
The international market to the rescue – and yet…
Update: Michael Apted’s The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader ultimately collected a – relatively speaking – poor $104.4 million domestically and a far better $311.3 million internationally. Worldwide total: $415.7 million, or not quite enough for the costly fantasy to break even at the box office alone.
Its top international markets were Japan ($30.4 million), France ($28.8 million), the United Kingdom/Ireland ($23.2 million), Russia/CIS ($19.1 million), China ($18.6 million), Mexico ($16.7 million), Germany ($15.5 million), Brazil ($15.2 million), Spain ($15 million), Italy ($14.2 million), Australia ($12.8 million), and South Korea ($10 million).
Understandably, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader turned out to be the final movie adaptation (to date) of C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia, even though there were four more books in the series.
”The Voyage of the Dawn Treader Movie Box Office” endnotes
Unless otherwise noted, “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader Movie Box Office: Only International Moviegoers Can Save Mega-Budget Threequel” 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 The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, 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.
The Great Lion Aslan, Skandar Keynes, Georgie Henley, and Ben Barnes The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader movie image: 20th Century Fox.
“The Voyage of the Dawn Treader Movie Box Office: Only International Moviegoers Can Save Mega-Budget Threequel” last updated in October 2022.