Why’d it Bomb? Power Rangers (2017)

Kevthewriter wonders why the new Power Rangers fizzed out.

Considering it was based on a big franchise, you’d think the 2017 version of Power Rangers would be a hit. In fact, Lionsgate was so confident in this movie they announced that it would get 5 sequels before it even came out. But, when it did come out, it underperformed at the box office and Lionsgate says they are not sure the sequels are going to happen. But why did this would-be franchise stumble right out of the gate?

4. Does anyone care about Power Rangers anymore?
Power Rangers used to be really, really popular…in the 90’s. Nowadays, while the franchise is still going on, even having TV shows continuing to this day, the franchise isn’t as popular as it used to be so fewer people probably cared.

3. Power Rangers movies have never been big at the box office
Before this movie, there were two Power Rangers movies that went to theaters. The first came out during the Power Rangers phenomenon in 1995 and yet it still made only $38 million domestically and $28 million worldwide. Considering it was made on a budget of $15 million dollars, it definitely was a success but the numbers weren’t anything special, even by the standards of the 90’s. Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie was a bomb, though, making $9 million domestic and worldwide despite opening on over 2,000 theaters. This, being made on a budget of $100 million dollars, was the most pricey Power Rangers movie ever and, when you consider what the other Power Rangers movies made, it seems like it was a bad idea making a big budget Power Rangers film in the first place.

2. Competition
At the time it came out in theaters, the Beauty and the Beast remake was still making truckloads of money at the box office and it ended up having competition from, of all movies, Boss Baby. Not only that but The Fate of the Furious came out a few weeks later, further burying the movie.

1. That. Damn. Teaser Trailer
You know why I think this movie didn’t do as well as expected? This trailer:

It made the movie look like it was taking itself too seriously and many people probably thought that, of all things to give a gritty reboot to, Power Rangers wasn’t one of them. The fact that the reviews were mixed at best probably didn’t convince anyone to go see this movie (even though the few I know who did see it liked it).

Unfortunately, Power Rangers doesn’t seem like it’s going to be a movie franchise anytime soon. Oh well. Who wants to get some Krispy Kreme now?


Posted on September 9, 2017, in Why'd it bomb? and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. In some ways, it makes sense why they may have thought they had a potential hit on their hands. At the time the tMNT reboot hit theaters, Ninja Turtles had been out of relevance since 1993 or there about. Yet that became a hit.

    It was the Power rangers that took the Ninja Turtles place in pop culture relevance. While i had a mild interest in the Turtles (I was in elementary school when they first became popular), I was a little too old to have any real interest in the Power Rangers (I was in high school when they really took off in popularity). I tried watching a couple episodes of the TV show and was unimpressed. I saw enough of the first movie to determine it was pretty mediocre and thus developed an apathy about the rangers.


  2. I think that as kev notes, the producers’ sights were set too high. The 1995 Power Rangers film was a financial success, even though it ranked only 45th at the box office that year, because it was made on a modest budget. If they’d given this one a more reasonable budget, somewhere in the $40 million range, they could have ended up making money even if it wasn’t a big hit.

    The other thing that could be a factor—and I say this not having seen the movie—is that the makers may have forgotten their target audience. Power Rangers is a kids show; the first movie, which had a PG rating, was more or less pitched at the show’s normal audience. This one had a PG-13 rating, suggesting that it wasn’t really suited for the show’s natural demographic.


    • True, that could be a factor but I guess they saw that Transformers and TMNT had PG-13’s and yet were still successes so they thought that maybe they could replicate that (which they couldn’t)


    • That being said, the teaser trailer, like I said before, really did make it seem like they forgot their target audience, which might’ve turned people away from the movie


    • I think you have hit the nail on the head with both points. Unfortunately, studios are not interested in midrange hits anymore. They want to swing for the fences every single time. For the last few years, they have been able to count on overseas grosses to bail them out when these big budget tentpoles don’t connect with domestic audiences. But China, which represents the biggest and most desirable international market, is developing its movie industry. The appetite for American movies is slowly dwindling which is bad news for studios who were counting on them as a safety net for The Mummy, Pirates 5 and the latest Transformers. Might be good news for us though if it forced studio execs to reign in their spending.

      I remember seeing the trailer that Kev wrote about and wondering “Who the heck is this for?” It looked way too mature for the Power Rangers crowd. The trailer immediately called to mind the grim Fantastic Four reboot which is not a good thing. I hear the actual movie is looser and goofier than the marketing materials would have suggested. Apparently, it’s not that bad. So I think the marketing team dropped the ball there. But even if they had sold the movies too the Power Rangers fanbase, I’m not sure there are enough fans to turn a profit on such an expensive movie. The Rangers craze peaked in the 90’s and they were never THAT popular.


  3. Why it bombed:

    Slow pacing- Kids are bored with this film

    Lack of abilities- The suits look nice, but they dont really DO ANYTHING. And they have no weapons or special attacks. All they did was punch and kick a couple of computerized putties. For an alien super suit, it acts pretty down to earth.

    Mastodon got 8 legs- I heard The directors excuse and I call bullshit. Why not give the sabre tooth tiger fish gills while were at it?

    Goldar-one of the most popular generals in the franchise was not only turned into one boring blob of gold with his design, but doesnt talk or have emotions.

    Megazord-Doesnt combine. Design is boring, it has no face or color. It doesn’t have any finisher attacks either, goes back to my point of lack of special abilities

    No visors-We seen these kids in normal form for 2 hours. We dont need to constantly see their faces in costume as well. Suit them up.

    Fight choreography-Was rushed and lacked any real thought behind it. For a show that’s popular for its great fight scenes and action, both the ground and zord fight scenes were below average. Too much cgi is to blame for that as well. These kids were crying more than kicking ass..

    Training, Training, and MORE training-
    Ok, its getting ridiculous. I get training how to fight, and working as a team, but train on how to morph? Sounds like a cheap plot to drag the movie. Did peter parker train to be bit by a spider? If the coins already chose them, why do they need to train on how to activate it? Rita went through the same training and still turned on the rangers. Im all for character driven stories but it’s FUCKING POWER RANGERS, Lighten up a bit.

    Command center is too big for no damn reason. This is probably what ate up most of the budget.

    It’s great that this movie is more character driven, but come on, does that really make up for how anti power rangers this movie is? If I wanted to be sooo invested in the characters and not care about the action/sentai aspects I’m better off watching the notebook or the breakfast club. Develop the characters but you don’t have to make the whole movie boring and strip the fun of power rangers to do it.

    You hardly see the suits, They have no powerful weapons or attacks, the megazord is just a glob of gray, the fighting was short and boring, but somehow this movie is amazing because it has more of a degrassi narrative? And the plot also borrows alot from chronicle.


  4. Power Rangers 2 might not be happening

    It looks like Power Rangers 2 may be dead in the water. Neither Lionsgate nor Saban have indicated that sequel plans are moving forward but fans, and director Dean Israelite, hoped that a sequel may still happen, despite the fact that Power Rangers didn’t live up to expectations. However, it looks like a possible, final nail in the coffin has emerged, as Saban has decided not to renew the trademark for the Power Rangers movie logo.

    Saban owns the Power Rangers brand and they produced this year’s live-action movie with Lionsgate. So the fact that they’ve opted not to renew the trademark for the logo they used for the movie, which also extends to games, TV and multimedia content, isn’t overly encouraging for those who want to see Power Rangers 2 happen. Just to give an idea of how much this particular trademark covered, here’s the official text in regards to the trademark, explaining everything that it entails.

    “The description provided to the USPTO for Saban’s Power Rangers is Entertainment in the nature of online games; entertainment services in the nature of creation, development, distribution and production of motion pictures, multimedia entertainment content and television shows; entertainment services, namely, personal appearances by characters and individuals associated with motion pictures and television series and other entertainment programs; fan clubs; presentation of live show performances; providing a website featuring entertainment information, interviews, movie clips and trailers, online games, television clips and trailers and short-form entertainment content delivered by internet, mobile and wireless networks; providing a website featuring non-downloadable videos and images in the fields of action, adventure and science fiction delivered by internet, mobile and wireless networks.”
    Even though the logo was primarily used for the Power Rangers movie, it was created by Saban’s Entertainment division and covered a lot of ground. Now, there are a few reasons that Saban could have let the trademark expire, but even if they plan on making a new logo for a Power Rangers sequel, this seems like a strange thing to let go. Assuming they have plans on making a sequel. If they’ve abandoned the idea completely, then it makes total sense. Over the summer, director Dean Israelite expressed his desire to do Power Rangers 2 and said that discussions were happening, but that’s the last we heard officially.

    “I hope so. It’s obviously not up to me, but I know the studio (Lionsgate) and Saban are talking in earnest about it, and are trying to push forward. They’re having a discussion.”

    Even though there’s an argument to be made for Power Rangers being a brand, and the movie possibly helping that brand, 2017’s live-action Power Rangers movie wasn’t a success. Power Rangers made just $142 million worldwide on a $100 million budget. No matter how you sliced it, Saban and Lionsgate lost some money on the deal. So, even though they set up Power Rangers 2 and hoped to bring the Green Ranger into the fold, this new info from Trademarkia doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence. Sorry, Power Rangers fans, but you might have to wait for a reboot in a few years.



    Power Rangers creator Haim Saban, who entered billionaire status because of the massive success of the 90’s broadcast series and merchandise, purchased back the rights to the Power Rangers in 2010. He brokered a $65 million deal with Disney, which was doing nothing with the property. In 2014, Lionsgate pitched Saban their take on an expensive Power Rangers reboot, that would spawn a franchise. Lionsgate quickly dated the movie for a prime July 22, 2016 release date. Power Rangers was yet another property apart of Lionsgate’s aggressive franchise expansion model that was in development in 2014. This period of development at Lionsgate yielded franchise non-starters — Gods Of Egypt, Child 44, The Last Witch Hunter and Mortdecai. As per their usual financial model, Lionsgate sold off all overseas distribution during pre-sales, leaving their exposure to the $100 million budget at $25 million.

    In April 2015, while still in pre-production, Lionsgate moved the release back to January 13, 2017. In December 2015, to capitalize from kids on Spring Break, Power Rangers was moved to March 24, 2017.

    When the first trailer hit in October 2016, it reached more than 150 million views in its first 48 hours and Lionsgate followed with all their marketing muscle to build this into a franchise. Saban announced that they had developed a “six-movie story arc” and Lionsgate expected anywhere from five to seven Power Rangers movies. Lionsgate invested heavily into traditional marketing and also partnered with many corporations and organizations to increase exposure. The mini-major partnered with Krispy Kreme, Game Spot, IGN, Atom Tickets and many more. There was a “Zords Rising” VR experience from Qualcomm and ReelFX that was showcased at the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas . A messaging bot was even programmed, based on the Alpha 5 character (I have no idea what the hell Alpha 5 is, sorry Power Rangers fans). To help spread word of mouth, Lionsgate had 50 early promotional screenings.

    Power Rangers received mixed to poor reviews, which has never really hurt the property since 1993 and was tracking for an opening between $30 to $40 million. It bowed against Life and Chips and opened on the high end of expectations, with a respectable $40,300,288 — placing #2 for the weekend led by the second frame of Beauty And The Beast. It was all bad news for Power Rangers after its second session, where it was massively front loaded and sank 64.8% $14,200,307. It declined 56.3% in its third frame to $6,199,403 and closed its domestic run with $85,364,450. Lionsgate would see returned about $46.9 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross. After ancillary sales, Lionsgate would probably break even.

    While Lionsgate will likely emerge unscathed from Power Rangers, the film was outright rejected in the international market. It had tanked in almost every international territory and an absurd hurtle to profitability was thrown its way in the Russian market, where it was slapped with an adults only rating of 18+ because the movie featured a character that was gay. A belated China release was the last hope for the picture to reach the black, but it bombed with $4.2 million. The final offshore cume stands at $56.7 million.

    As for the future of the series, dozens of overseas distributors which ponied up the majority of the budget through pre-sales, lost their investment into Power Rangers. No entity which lost capital from the first installment would fund the next one. Lionsgate will barely come out ahead on this project and it looks like Power Rangers will end up as another Lionsgate would-be franchise. Lionsgate canceled the Divergent Series after Allegiant ($110 million budget) pulled in $179 million. The Last Witch Hunter has outgrossed Power Rangers, which should help put the series future in perspective.


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