Lionsgate and Saban had huge plans for Power Rangers.
The big-screen film adaptation of the television series was supposed to do kick off a lengthy cinematic franchise. ” We could see doing five or six or seven,” Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer had said.
Well, a poor box office and middling reviews (although we liked it) certainly put that ambitious plan into question. The film made $US140 million worldwide from an estimated production budget of $US100 million, which doesn’t take into account the amount that would’ve been spent on marketing and distribution. At this point it seems unlikely that a sequel will be made.
According to director Dean Israelite, who made his second feature with Power Rangers following the time travel found-footage film Project Almanac, the film’s box office performance could come down to one key element: the rating and the uncertainty that it may have provided parents.
The filmmaker was asked by Screen Rant if he thought the PG-13 rating the film was handed in the U.S. (the film was given a non-restrictive M rating – Recommended for Mature Audiences – for Mature themes and science fiction violence in Australia) played a hand in its financial return.
“Yes, definitely. Definitely. And not only do I think it, but there’s been market studies on it, and the findings have been that if the movie were rated PG – I don’t want to go into the specific numbers – but if the movie had been rated PG, there would have been more traffic,” Israelite said.
“I think parents were unsure if they could bring their kids to the movie, which surprised me, because the movie is a tame PG-13.”
It’s a little hard to know without specifics from those “market studies” just how much this PG-13 rating really did affect the box office. After all, Marvel films usually rake in the big bucks with PG-13 outings. Also, 8 out of the current top 10 best-ever box office earners hold a PG-13 rating (Frozen and this year’s Disney and the Beast, numbers 9 and 10 respectively, were both rated PG).
Then again, Israelite may have a point when it comes to this particular property. After all, the show’s campy, kiddish fun was pushed to the side a little in favour of a more serious, darker approach, which could have provided some concern for parents.
“We did a lot of preview screenings, and to me, it felt like a seven-year-old might be scared, but in a good way. They liked that they were scared of Rita, but they still came out of the movie enjoying it, they liked what was going on,” Israelite said.
“I think we really tread that line well, so it was disappointing that parents didn’t know that they could take their kids to it. I’m hoping now, with it coming out on DVD and Blu-ray, and On Demand, that parents will feel more comfortable. That maybe they’ll check it out for themselves and then see that it’s suitable.”
What do you think? Could a PG-13 rating have affected the film’s box office earnings? Or does it all just come down to the film itself? Share your thoughts in the comments sections below.