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Box Office ReportFeature Film

‘Ratchet & Clank”s Dreadful Second Weekend Raises Questions About ‘Sly Cooper’ Feature

The Canadian/Chinese co-production Ratchet & Clank had a disastrous second weekend, plummeting 70% to a $1.5 million weekend.

The Rainmaker Entertainment movie has earned just $7.1 million to date and could gross less than $10 million over its entire domestic run. The last animated feature to launch in over 2,500 theaters and gross less than $10m was the 2014 film Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return.

R&C’s poor performance leads to questions whether Rainmaker’s next Playstation game-to-feature adaptation, Sly Cooper, will ever get made. A teaser trailer was produced in 2013 (below), but director Kevin Munroe said at Wondercon last March that the film had not yet entered production.

Vancouver-based Rainmaker, which produced R&C with Blockade Entertainment, had much rosier (perhaps unrealistic) expectations for the film’s box office performance. The studio’s president Michael Hefferon had suggested in an interview that he thought Ratchet & Clank could outperform the Canadian/Korean co-pro The Nut Job, which grossed $64.3 million in the U.S. during its 2014 run.

On the more successful side of the box office spectrum is the Walt Disney Company, which is obliterating Hollywood records and on pace to have its biggest year ever at the box office. Last week, the studio passed $1 billion domestically in just 128 days. To put that into perspective, no Hollywood film studio had ever achieved that feat before in less than 165 days. The studio also hit the $3 billion global mark last week; the previous record was, again, 165 days, set by Universal last year. More impressive, they’ve managed to break these records with just a handful of titles.

What has been the secret ingredient in Disney’s amazing box office performance this year: animation and vfx, of course. Every film they’ve released in 2016 has been either totally animated or mostly vfx-driven. Their latest release, Captain America: Civil War, launched with a $181.8m domestically last weekend, and has grossed $675.7m worldwide over its first two weeks of release.

The almost-entirely animated Jungle Book has now grossed $776.2m, while the fully-animated Zootopia is currently the top-grossing movie of the year with $956.4m.

The Annecy Cristal-winning French animated feature April and the Extraordinary World picked up $18,746 from 33 theaters during its seventh U.S. weekend. The GKIDS release has grossed $249,065 domestically, and should pass Ernest & Celestine next weekend to become the distributor’s tenth highest-grossing release.

Also, for those wondering whether anyone saw the Korean feature Bling, you’ll have to keep wondering. The film’s distributor, Momentum Pictures, did not release any box office numbers from its opening weekend.

  • Grant Beaudette

    I was skeptical about the prospects of a Sly Cooper movie as soon as I heard Rainmaker was doing it. And nothing I’ve seen since has raised those hopes.

  • Cameron Ward

    It’s a shame like this film had to underperform. For a video game movie, it looks like the game, it has most of the same actors, and it is in some ways very loyal to the source material. Too bad everything else was not that great. Granted, no marketing will kill any film and I BARELY saw anything about this film on TV. Even on the family friendly channels I saw nothing.

    • Patrice Jean-Baptiste

      Literally the most marketing I saw for the Ratchet & Clank movie was at E3….2 years ago.

  • Fred Patten

    My sister and I paid to see “Ratchet and Clank” in a theater, and we walked out on it halfway through. Not because the animation was bad, but the story was abysmal! Captain Quark wasn’t the only unsympathetic “hero”; both Ratchet and Clank were unlikeable, too. “The Nut Job” was A+ in comparison. Unfortunately, the characters in “Sly Cooper” don’t look much better, from the trailer. It’s story and characters, not animation technology, that makes a good movie.

  • Ace4671

    I haven’t seen R&C, but I do play the games and honestly… I’m not surprised the film bombed the way it did. There just wasn’t a story in any of those games that necessitated a film. Clever writing and good humor maybe, but an amazing story? Not so much…. Personally, I think the Sly Cooper franchise has a better chance of making that jump, but I’m still skeptical. Time will tell!

    • Kris Bright

      I think you’re wrong. I think Ratchet and Clank could have an amazing story. I think the only reason Ratchet and Clank bombed was because it didn’t have enough marketing and advertising. I have never once seen any commercials for it outside of E3 and youtube.

      They shouldn’t have released the game first. They should have waited until the movie was out before releasing the game as many people probably just thought it was a game release trailer.

      Despite that however the marketing was the real issue here, as nobody even knew there was a movie coming out about Ratchet and Clank. I had to tell people at GameStop that there was a movie coming out based on the movie based on the game. When GameStop doesn’t even know about it, you know it didn’t get enough press.

  • Secoh2000

    I’ve enjoyed nearly all the ratchet and clank games and, when they first dropped a teaser to the movie, I was excited. As time went on and I saw more of this film I grew very skeptical. I wanted to like it as I loved the art style/characters and was happy to hear that they were bringing back the original voice actors (as they are the heart of the franchise).

    Sadly though I agree with most of the people that saw the movie. It is lacking any substantial plot or anything that wanted to pull you into the story. When you’re a third to halfway through watching a movie and thinking to yourself “man this movie is getting long/slow, I’ve not laughed much… wait… is that guys voice out of synch with is mouth?” then you know things are not going well for the movie.

    They said they didn’t want to veer away from the source material and wanted to keep faithful but I think they could have done that and added more to the mystery of what a lombax is (some back story into the lombax race), why a glitch made clank, or put more heart and effort into quark so his betrayal/reversal felt more genuine. The movie felt like a bunch of cut scenes put together and while that works for a game (cut scenes only tell a small story and play a small part in the world you’re exploring) a movie they do not make.

    At this point, unless they work on adding a solid story to Sly Cooper (which I was equally excited for) I think they should leave it lay on the shelf. Pity.

  • Marielle

    Any idea why The Nut Job did better than Ratchet & Clank? Both have similar Rotten Tomato scores.

    • Tim Tran

      I…..honestly don’t know lol. maybe its January release helps it becoz people are bored. Or coz of Gangnam Style? idk..

    • Tim Tran

      I…..honestly don’t know lol. maybe its January release helps it becoz people are bored. Or coz of Gangnam Style? idk..

    • Jacob

      Without having seen Ratchet & Clank yet, I have a few theories. The Nut Job, while pretty awful in my opinion, was a wacky comedy about talking animals. Ratchet & Clank looks like a more action-driven Sci-fi movie, and those have rarely done well in the past (Titan AE, Final Fantasy, Treasure Planet).

      And while I think it’s cool the filmmakers made the movie so visually similar to the games, it may have backfired by making it just look like a really long cutscene. One of the few ads I saw on TV actually had a message at the end say something like “See the movie April 29th, and buy the game in stores now!” So people who weren’t paying attention could have just thought it was a video game commercial.

      Add in the fact that Nut Job had more/better marketing, and a better release date, and that’s probably a big reason why it did better.

      • Metlow Rovenstein

        I think that the lack of marketing was the cheif culprit in this film not being a hit here, if a stinker like ths Nut Job could be successful.

  • Voreo Sabrae

    I absolutely loved this movie, the way release dates were handled was pretty poor on Sony’s part , seeing how the Game pretty much spoils the movie… that and i don’t think they expected Zootopia to still be bringing in money this close to its Bluray/DVD release.

  • GabzGirl

    Not surprised it’s a bomb; there was hardly any marketing for it and from what I’ve heard the film is made more for fans of the Ratchet and Clank series…which is SO stupid because it was meant to be an introduction to the series for newcomers, like the PS4 game! If Rainmaker had such high expectations for its box office gross then I highly doubt we’re going to get Sly on the big screen. Perhaps that’s a good thing though.

  • Donald B.

    TJ Fixman, one of the writers on this disaster, has done everything under the sun to distance himself from the Ratchet and Clank movie.

    This is his first movie, and he also works at Hasbro as a creative consultant, so he must be terrified that his bosses have seen what a “TJ Fixman” movie looks like. He was also hired to write the new Popeye for Sony, so you gotta assume they’re rethinking that hiring decision.

    He throws Kevin Munroe and Gerry Swallow under the bus, despite the fact that he worked on this script for over a year. https://tjfixman.wordpress.com/2016/04/02/a-farewell-to-lombaxes

  • Shittsy McGigglin

    This film was plagued with problems from the get go.

    TJ Fixman wrote the script and although it wouldn’t be impossible for a games writer to write a film, we are talking about two distinctly different disciplines here. And where is Mr. Fixman now? Last article I saw he was doing his best to distance himself from that which he is largely responsible for. The R&C cut scenes which I have watched from past games are largely dialogue and rely little on telling story through visuals. Extend that to 84 minutes and you get the movie. A long, slow paced, dialogue heavy disaster.

    So you couple the ill-suited writer with a director lacking film experience and you get this movie. Wait, you say. Kevin Munroe has film experience. Unfortunately, he was not the first director of the film. Jerrica Cleland was first announced as the director but in later days seemed to disappear off the radar with the exception of her co-director credit and Kevin Munroe seemed to take over stepping in from an executive producer position. That is the hallmark of a busted film and looking at his pedigree which contains Dylan Dog (8% on RT), TMNT (34%) and Strange Magic (16%) I think it would be unrealistic to assume that it was going into the hands of someone able to save it from disaster if it was an already broken concept and script.

    And what of marketing? Did anyone here see any? I saw a poorly cut together trailer which contained voice over which was atop missing character dialogue and other adr which didn’t seem to sync. Not exactly what you call convincing or persuasive. Maybe they realized what they had and tried to cut their losses. Somehow the $10 million write down for the first quarter of 2016 doesn’t seem to indicate that though the lack of marketing hints at a vaguely memorable saying about the inability to polish a piece of excrement.

    Rainmaker in the end is a TV studio which struggles at the best of times to produce quality work for that medium. Film is another beast altogether and they would do well to recognize their limitations. I hope they take a serious look at their leadership and remove what seem to be some under-powered or incompetent executives to restore shareholder confidence before this disaster closes their doors. The fact that Rainmaker President, CCO and exec producer on the film, Michael Hefferon thought it would outperform the Nutjob indicates he should probably be the first to go.

    • Donald B.

      TJ Fixman says the script that went into production was not his script. He says he disagreed with the creative direction of the film, and “didn’t have the time nor the inclination to upset production by pushing my version on the team.”

      It’s a good thing Kevin Munroe and Gerry Swallow have more class than TJ and are professional enough to not publicly shit-talk the other contributors to a project they’ve worked on.

  • Ima Badlady

    The movie needed more structure, but I really enjoyed it. Sad that it’s not doing well in the box office.

  • There is a female character in the game, basically a combination of those two characters named Inspector Carmelita Fox.

  • Sean R.

    I really think Sly Cooper has a story with a wider audience… and possibly with more entertaining characters. To me it just feels like Ratchet and Clank requires some interest in the game, Sly Cooper can be seen as just a heist movie and be enjoyed for that aspect.

  • TKeen

    I saw this in the 80s… a big chunk of the animation biz ending up making feature-length toy commercials, from the Care Bears movies onwards. The results are usually mediocre at best – ‘Lego Movie’ notwithstanding. Meanwhile, Disney continues to beat the pants off everyone else by making the movies first, and the merch afterwards.