Why’d it Bomb?/Why’d it Hit? The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015) and Sherlock Holmes (2009)
Kevthewriter looks at two Guy Ritchie movies and asks who one was a hit while the other wasn’t.
In 2009, Sherlock Holmes was a box office success. It’s sequel, A Game of Shadows, also did well. Instead of doing a 3rd one, though, Guy Ritchie decided to do a remake of the 60’s spy show The Man from U.N.C.L.E., which didn’t do even close to as well as either of the Sherlock Holmes movies did. But why was Sherlock Holmes a hit while The Man from U.N.C.L.E. a bomb?
3. The Release Date
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. came out in August, when people seem to only go see one or two movies. The year before, everyone was seeing Guardians of the Galaxy and TMNT and nothing else. In 2015, everyone went to see Straight Outta Compton and Mission: Impossible-Rogue Nation. On the other hand, Sherlock Holmes and its sequel both came out in December, when people tend to go out to the movies more so there were more people interested in going out and seeing it.
2. Star Power
At the time of Sherlock Holmes, Robert Downey Jr. was coming off of Iron Man, which was seen as a big comeback for him, as well as Tropic Thunder, which got him an Oscar nomination of all things. I think people were interested in seeing what he was in next. The Man from U.N.C.L.E., on the other hand, didn’t have the star power Sherlock did. Armie Hammer is unfortunately considered box office poison, especially after The Lone Ranger, and while Henry Cavill might be Superman in the DCEU, most people went to see Man of Steel because it was a new Superman movie and it was the start of DC’s attempt at competing with Marvel, not for him specifically.
1. The Source Material
Sherlock Holmes is a beloved property to this day. It has a popular show based on it still running on the BBC, it has another popular show that has been running for 5 years on CBS, and another movie about Sherlock with Ian McKellen playing an elderly version of Holmes, among other things. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. may have been popular back in the 60’s but it’s been forgotten over the years so no one was really interested because the audience they targeted it to has, well, probably never even heard of it in the first place.
Unfortunately, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was a franchise non-starter for Richie and King Arthur has bombed as well. Ehh, Aladdin will be probably be a hit for him…