The unraveling of STX continues. As the beleaguered studio looks to find a buyer (Lionsgate has emerged as the latest possible suitor), it finds itself without the resources to mount a meaningful marketing campaign.
Just this week, STX offloaded THE CONTRACTOR to Paramount and Showtime, and now OPERATION FORTUNE has been pulled from the release schedule just weeks before its March 18th date.
When Guy Ritchie is in big-budget mode, he either hits big (ALADDIN., SHERLOCK HOLMES) or wildly misses (THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E., KING ARTHUR).
Lately, he’s been going back to his smaller-budget boys-will-be-boys roots. In 2000, SNATCH grossed $30M. Twenty years later, THE GENTLEMEN made $36M, and last year WRATH OF MAN took in $27M. That $25M – $35M range seems to be Ritchie’s sweet spot.
The move makes sense. With less than a month to go before release, OPERATION was struggling to build awareness. Throughout its run, awareness remained in the low 20’s. A trailer in December did little to help.
Even if his bro-tactic films don’t make a ton of money, Ritchie always manages to get big names. Brad Pitt, Matthew McConaughey, Hugh Grant, Colin Farrell, and, of course, Jason Statham have all starred in his films. And that is why STX may be taking its time in releasing this one.
Ritchie’s genre pics don’t have a history of making a ton of money, but when big names are attached, there’s always a chance for a breakthrough. So, for now, OPERATION is on the sidelines. It will be interesting to see where and when it resurfaces.