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Universal Bombs With Its Two VFX-Driven Films: ‘Mortal Engines’ And ‘Welcome To Marwen’

Universal is ending the year on a sour note thanks to back-to-back bombs of its two vfx-driven films: Christian Rivers’ Mortal Engines and Robert Zemeckis’ Welcome to Marwen. The failure of these films, which could reach between $150-200 million, will have a negative effect on other studios as well, who will now be more reluctant to invest in original vfx-driven films, continuing Hollywood’s reliance on franchises, sequels, and reboots for the foreseeable ftuure.

Mortal Engines, which opened two weeks ago, has managed just $12 million in the U.S. and $42 million internationally. It will be the biggest loser, thanks to the film’s reported production cost of $110 million. Deadline reports that if the film ends up with a global gross of $120 million, it would lose $105 million. Upper-end estimates of the film’s losses are in the neighborhood of $150 million.

Welcome to Marwen, which mixes drama and an imaginary animated universe, launched with a dismal $2.36 million last weekend, the worst launch for any major studio release in 2018. Estimated to cost around $40 million to make, the film is expected to lose around $45-50 million after marketing and distribution are factored in.

The silver lining for Marwen is that Universal co-financed the film with Dreamworks, and China’s Perfect World also invested in the film as part of its slate financing deal with Universal.

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