Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur: Snatch (a Sword from a Stone) flopped this weekend. It appears that “Knights of the Round Table, but lads” is not a pitch that sells tickets.
The Hollywood Reporter says the movie made $15.4 million opening weekend in the States—against a budget of something like $175 million—and dubs the results “disastrous” and the movie “a flop of epic proportions,” “one of the worst openings ever for a big-budget studio event film.” The Guardian puts the worldwide opening total at $43.8 million, so it’s not like the global box office is going to save their bacon, here. “The concept didn’t resonate with a broad audience, and we’re disappointed. We had higher hopes,” said Warner Bros. domestic distribution chief Jeff Goldstein.
Maybe it is the fault of Charlie Hunnum, who despite being very hot, inexplicably cannot seem to get any traction on the big screen. He was totally forgettable in Crimson Peak, and he was a weird fit for Fifty Shades even before he bailed.
Or maybe it’s that the King Arthur tales don’t have much cultural resonance at the moment. The 2004 attempt, starring Clive Owen and Kiera Knightly and directed by Training Day’s Antoine Fuqua, didn’t exactly blow anybody’s socks off, either. Stories this old tend to pop into and back out of circulation on their own timeline based on broader cultural forces we can’t necessarily identify when we’re in the middle of them, and not at the whims of studio execs. Perhaps best to just leave it alone for now instead of dumping money into an attempt to force an idea that just won’t work.
Or, alternatively, maybe we could pack away the dark reinterpretations for male audiences and try it as a lavish melodramatic epic marketed to women, full of regal beefcake and impossible longing. Haha, as if! Women don’t buy movie tickets!