Hollywood witnesses its first major box office setback of 2024 as Matthew Vaughn's spy thriller, Argylle, falls short of expectations during its theatrical run. Released on February 2, 2024, in the US, the film only garnered $18 million in its opening domestic weekend and $35 million globally. This disappointment is particularly noteworthy for a major studio production anticipated to kickstart its franchise and potentially ignite a shared cinematic universe. Notably, Argylle boasts a diverse ensemble cast, including Bryce Dallas Howard, Sam Rockwell, Henry Cavill, Samuel L Jackson, Bryan Cranston, Catherine O'Hara, Ariana DeBose, John Cena, and Dua Lipa. Argylle Movie Review: Bryce Dallas Howard, Sam Rockwell and Henry Cavill's Spy Games Get Lost in Matthew Vaughn's Over-Convoluted Plot.
So, what went wrong? Why did this star-studded film, accompanied by engaging promotions, struggle in theatres? Let's explore five key reasons behind Argylle's box office flop, starting off with the most promiscuous one....
Let's address the 'cat' in the room first. Many went to watch Argylle - as seen from online reviews and reactions - expecting that Henry Cavill would be the main lead of the film, while John Cena, Ariana DeBose and Dua Lipa have major roles too. In reality, their roles are tantamount to cameos, while Bryce Dallas Howard and Sam Rockwell - while both are great in the movie - are the actual leads. Yes, you can argue that the trailer did hint at this sneaky deception, but can you blame the audience when you put Cavill right in the centre of the posters while the actual leads are on the side?
Lack of Interest in Kingsman Universe
Oh, blame Marvel for injecting this thought in every studio head's mind that every franchise can be turned into an interconnected cinematic universe, never mind if it makes little sense. SPOILERS AHEAD - by the end of Argylle, it is established that the film, or maybe the fictional events of its protagonist's book, is set in the Kingsman universe. The thing is, the Kingsman franchise does not hold the same appeal that it once had when the first film (Kingsman: The Secret Service) came out in 2014, as the sequel Kingsman: The Golden Circle and the prequel, The King's Man, saw diminishing returns in terms of box office receipts and critical acclaim. Interestingly, KTSS is also Matthew Vaughn's biggest hit to date. Argylle Ending Explained: Will Henry Cavill and John Cena Return for Next Chapter in Matthew Vaughn's Planned 'Multiverse'? Decoding This in 25 Twists!
It is imperative for any film that isn't pandering to populist sentiments to earn strong reviews to gain momentum among film buffs. Unfortunately, critics gave Argylle a cold reception, praising action scenes and some humour but criticising the screenplay and runtime. While the audience score on Rotten Tomatoes is higher, the film's box office performance indicates a different reality.
Lack of Stars With Box Office Pull
Argylle definitely has an enticing-looking cast, but no offense to anyone, there is none who we can say is a box office draw. Sure, you can point out Henry Cavill is easily the most popular cast member among the young audience, and so is Dua Lipa, even if their brief screen space is another issue altogether. But apart from his stint with DC Universe, Henry Cavill hasn't been drawing crowds to the theatres using his online popularity. At the same time, singers don't always become box-office attractions when they act in movies.
Even though a global collection of $35 million is far below par for a big film like Argylle, the fact that it is made on a budget of $200 million should really shock everyone. The disappointing performances of similarly big-budgeted recent fare like The Marvels, Killers of the Flower Moon, Indiana Jones and The Dial of Destiny et al. should wake up Hollywood executives from their slumber and make them issue more cost-effective measures without compromising the artistic integrity of these movies. Especially when your film also gets slammed for poor use of CGI...
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Feb 07, 2024 01:24 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).