Why Michael Payne’s ambulance failed at the box office

Michael Bay, the filmmaker behind the rights to “Armageddon,” “Pearl Harbor” and “Transformers”, was once one of the foremost architects of blockbuster blockbusters. The director’s latest explosive action-thriller “Ambulance” proves that times and tastes have changed in the days when the box office was ruled by Mayhem and Autobots.

Over the weekend, Universal’s “Ambulance”, a piracy thriller released in an EMS vehicle, was halted from 3,412 North American theaters for $ 8.7 million. This is a disappointing domestic box office debut considering the ghostly record of fielding commercial successes. The R-rated “Ambulance” is currently ranked as the worst opening weekend of Payne’s career, with 2013 hulking action comedy “Pain & Gain” ($ 20 million debut) and 2016 Benghazi war movie “13 Hours” ($ 16 million debut). Is coming back. Neither of those two films made the world blaze.

You say, “Hey! We are still living with an epidemic and the domestic box office has not returned to normal. That is also true. But within three days of the “ambulance” crash, the family-friendly “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” opened for $ 71 million. And older male moviegoers, showing the target population of Bay films for “The Batman,” “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” and James Bond’s latest work, “No Time to Die.” Despite the persistence of epidemics, many more movies were able to sell tickets. As of Sunday, “Ambulance” A24’s comedy-fiction-sci-fi mashup had grossed only $ 2 million more than “Everything Everywhere at Once” ($ 6 million from 1,250 North American theaters).

Some box office analysts believe the crowded market – Jared Leto’s antihero adventure “Morpheus” and Sandra Bullock and Saning Totem’s scrolling love comedy “The Last City” rose against the box office – worked against “Ambulance”.

“This weekend is the biggest factor time to act against‘ ambulances, ’” said Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at Box Office Pro. Although “Sonic 2 ‘is a family movie, it’s attracted a large number of male and female audiences from all ages due to the brand’s generational appeal.

“Ambulance” cost $ 40 million, the pack was relatively inexpensive, and its past pictures had more than $ 100 million in price tags. (The studio spent an additional ten million on marketing and other efforts to get the film on the audience’s radar.) For a major studio release, the $ 8.7 million debut is disappointing if you cheat on it in any way. But this blow would have been more painful if the production budget had been closer to the number nine.

In the late 1990s and early days, there was no greater filmmaker than Beaway. His films may not be the best on critics’ decade lists (they, in fact, were included in the criteria collection), but Bay had a knack for turning adrenalized, physically abusive tents into hits that define pop culture. That formula doesn’t always work these days, especially when Netflix regularly publishes a library in homage to Payne’s gallery. Visitors no longer have to leave home to watch “The Old Guard”, “Triple Frontier” and Payne’s own “6 Underground”. While those films boasted of big stars and (mostly) positive reviews, none of them managed to stick to Jeetjist in the same way as “Bad Boys” or “Armageddon”. Netflix film chief Scott Stuber later admitted Variety “6 Underground” was lower than expected.

In some ways, the netfix-movement of ROM-coms has come for rip-roaring action scenes. Through Rome-coms, the advent of satisfying encounter-beautiful stories has taught people to lower their expectations and stay home from any movie that does not stand alone. “Ambulance” was half-heartedly accepted by critics, with an average rating of 69% for Rotten Tomatoes. Ticket buyers – 58% of them men and 50% of people 35 or older – were more interested in the film that received the “A-” Cinemascore. In “Ambulance” Jack Gillenhall and Yahya Abdul-Madin II play adopted siblings who hijack an ambulance and hold the occupants of the vehicle hostage.

“Big budget action movies were once the fort of the big screen; Theater only [could] Make these expensive films profitable, ”said Paul Terkrabedian, senior media analyst at ComScore. “[Those films] Now they find audience support on streaming sites like Netflix and they have the money to make such movies.

At the same time, COVID-19 continues to affect movie viewing habits. Sure, superhero adventures and video game adaptations can pack theaters, but some genres may not resonate with ticket buyers as they did before. One-time action stars like Harrison Ford, Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Willis, who rode the sidecar with the ghost in “Armageddon” and recently retired from acting, were not the driving force behind the box office success. Familiar traits are real tracks, as demonstrated by current drama winners such as “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” “The Batman” and “Sonic the Hedgehog”. Horror is another safe bet at the box office, and Bay has recently become more successful as a producer, working on the rights to “The Burge” and John Krazinski’s “A Quiet Place”.

“Today’s viewers want something special every time,” said David A., who runs Franchise Entertainment Research, a film consulting firm. Cross said. “The menu is now highly set.”

For Universal, “Ambulance” has extended a flat start to 2022. After kicking off the New Year with back-to-back accolades, Jennifer Lopez starred in the studio’s Leading Theft movie “355” and the religious drama “Redemption Love”. The date and date of the romantic comedy “Mary Me” on NBC Universal’s Streamer Beacon, which could limit box office ticket sales. Holdover has been a bright spot since Illumination’s animated comedy “Singh 2” grossed $ 162 million since December. The stacked summer slate, including “Jurassic World Dominion”, “Minions: The Rise of the Crew” and Jordan Beale’s horror film “Knob” transforms that fortune.

Do not expect Michael Bay style action epics to come to the rescue. Those days may be in the rearview mirror.

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