Negative reviews from several critics have lead to a disappointing debut for the Assassin's Creed movie, coming in at fifth place at the Christmas weekend box office.
It appears that Ubisoft's plan of forgoing the release of an Assassin's Creed game in 2016 in order to make the movie adaptation better may have not yielded the expected results. Days before the movie's December 21 release date, critics who caught an early screening weren't too impressed with the film, and negative reviews began coming up across the board. It remained to be seen how this poor word-of-mouth would affect the film's box office takings, but judging by Assassin's Creed's debut weekend, it's going to take something special for it to recoup its estimated $125 million production budget.
According to Variety's Christmas box office report, the Assassin's Creed movie failed to make a major impression on U.S. moviegoers during its opening week, debuting at a disappointing fifth place behind Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Sing, Passengers, and Why Him? with $22.5 million earned over the six day reporting period. While the film may be struggling domestically, Fox is hoping for greater success overseas.
Stating that the Assassin's Creed franchise has great global resonance, as well as the appeal of the film's all-star foreign cast (that includes Irish-German actor Michael Fassbender, French actress Marion Cotillard, and English actor Jeremy Irons), the studio expects foreign moviegoers to be more welcoming of the movie.
While the poor reception to the Assassin's Creed film will certainly not break the consensus that video game movies are bad, Fox's gamble on international box-office takings may ultimately pay off if recent box-office patterns of video game adaptations are anything to go by. Earlier this year, the critically-panned Warcraft movie had a similarly disappointing opening weekend in the U.S, but strong international box-office earnings have allowed the adaptation to become the most successful video game movie ever.
Given that Ubisoft intend for elements of the Assassin's Creed movie to tie in with the video game universe - such as the possibility of using the movie's Animus in future games - the negative reception to the film could potentially alter those plans. What we do know is that Ubisoft intends to take its time with the next Assassin's Creed title in order to revolutionize the franchise, so much so that the company could potentially delay its release to 2018.
With Assassin's Creed proving to be yet another disappointing film, it remains to be seen whether the upcoming adaptations of Tomb Raider, Watch Dogs, and The Division will finally buck the recent trend of critically-panned video game movies.
The Assassin’s Creed movie is in theaters now.