“The Warcraft movie is awesome” – said no one

Weird, I’m right again, this time with the prediction that the Warcraft movie would bomb. Oh and bomb it did, to the tune of 24m in the US on a 160m production budget. Given that the traditional model for the industry is that a movie breaks even at double its production budget, it’s safe to say the movie is doing about as well as the MMO its (not actually) based on.

It’s only saving grace (that won’t actually save it) is that over in Asia it did very well the first week, which is just another reminder that yes, Asians are still weird. I’d also not be surprised if the Asian numbers are about as real and accurate as the ‘subscriber count’ coming from that region, especially when you consider who is invested in the movie doing well in that area.

What’s especially terrible about the 24m number in the US is that the movie had a massive amount of ticket pre-sales (hardcore WoW fans), meaning that outside of that group, basically NO ONE else was interested in the movie. The report states 54% of viewers were Warcraft loyalists (how many of the remaining 46% are closet loyalists?), and even if we account for a much higher-than-average rate of people going to the movies solo (lonely no-friends nerds, aka WoW players), how many WoW players dragged a friend or family members along? Expect the movie to completely fall off a cliff next week when that group isn’t there to provide what little boost they did.

New Blizzard doing New Blizzard things!

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
This entry was posted in World of Warcraft. Bookmark the permalink.

44 Responses to “The Warcraft movie is awesome” – said no one

  1. I will have my own post about the movie itself, having seen it this past weekend. But the Saturday afternoon showing we went to at the local AMC was in one of the four big theaters on site. There were about ten people in the place, and we were five of them. (And four of us were WoW players, my wife being the only “dragged along” person.) Given the box office results, I am sure that scene played out in many other locations.

  2. Mark says:

    Actually the numbers in China alone will pretty much guarantee a sequel as that market is exploding (see Need for Speed 2 actually being made as proof heh) It’s cinema score grade wasn’t terrible either so those that saw it here liked it more than you would think. Lost in all of this is the movie isn’t even really based on WOW but rather the RTS game (yeah the lore ties together I know) so I’m mildly surprised how huge it is in China.

    • CirdanX says:

      A second movie will depend if it makes enough money in the coming weeks. It did well in Asia…about 90m. But the movie cost 160m BEFORE marketing. Since the starting week is the most important one, a second movie right now is doubtful. Unless of course there is already a signed contract, Blizzard could also finance it.

      • Mark says:

        Made way more than 90 million in China alone so not sure where that number is coming from.

  3. Kevin says:

    their mistake was not having the fabulous Uwe Boll direct it :-]

  4. vexis58 says:

    My local theater only had four non-3D showings on Saturday. It’s a strange thing for us to be going to a just-released movie AFTER lunch because the first showing isn’t until 12:20, usually they start a couple of hours before that. But I think the theater was right in not dedicating much space to it, it was definitely not one of the bigger rooms and there were probably only a dozen people there other than me and my husband (both long-time Blizzard fans).

  5. Cristi says:

    It was only available in 3D where I live, I hate 3D. I’m just gonna pirate it when a HD version comes out.

  6. saucelah says:

    To be fair to the Asian market, big budget action films often do well overseas because the terrible acting and bad writing get lost in translation. What’s left is the spectacle and explosions — the Transformers movies also did really well in Asia.

  7. carson63000 says:

    No doubt it is a poor movie, but it will easily cruise past double its production budget, it’s $304 million already from a $160 million budget.

  8. Jenks says:

    I enjoyed it but it felt very rushed, the amount covered felt like it should have been a 3 hour movie. Also after seeing it, the first feeling I had from the first trailer is stronger than ever: the whole thing should have been animated.

    • zaphod6502 says:

      Apparently 40 mins was cut to make the 2 he run time. I would give this film a B-. It is not horrible but not good either based on the Chinese TC version we watched.

  9. Silverangel says:

    In the post you linked, you say 300+ million is a blockbuster, and it’s 296 million worldwide as of yesterday according to Forbes.

    • SynCaine says:

      $300m domestic. In the US we don’t really care about the rest of the world when talking about success in movies, which is why articles always list US gross first, and then mention international.

      • Anti-Stupidity League says:

        Yeah, I’m sure the studio won’t even accept to receive the dirty foreign money as they don’t really care about it at all. $300m from China is nothing compared to $30m domestic.

      • Yawn,. moving goalpost. Why won’t the asia success save the movie?
        Seems the movie is indeed performing similar to the game. Above expectation for such a meagre product.
        Audiences grade the movie as B+ which is a lot better indication as some critics that are not the target audience. I liked the warcraft more as I did X-men Apocaypse and I was not the only one who felt that way. (In my case because I had had low expectations of the warcraft movie and higher expactations of X-men)

        • SynCaine says:

          I said it would bomb, and the article linked said it bombed. People brought up Asia, but I’m the one moving goalposts?

          As for why Asia counts less, it’s a ton of factors (Google is your friend), but there is a reason massive Asia hits don’t spawn huge budget sequels, while the reverse ( domestic success, Asian failure) do.

      • Mark says:

        Sorry but your logic here is massively flawed, overseas box office indeed DOES matter. If you want to call it a domestic failure then fine but you can’t talk about how doomed the movies future is while completely discounting that it will probably make half a billion dollars or more overseas. I understand how big a fan of Blizzard you aren’t but you are letting it influence you here too much.

      • pakelf says:

        Two words: Pacific Rim… …bombed in US ($100m) but not worldwide ($400m)…

  10. Eph says:

    “New Blizzard doing New Blizzard things!”

    I concur. It’s a typical N.B. combination of well-polished bits (the orcs) and glaring flaws (everything else) that is unlikely to set any landmark records but will still be reasonably successful proft-wise. Not to mention that it was actually made and released, which is a rarity these days.

    Warcraft movie is to Fountain War book kickstarter as Hearthstone is to DUST 514 and Overwatch is to World of Darkness MMO concept art.

    • SynCaine says:

      So Blizzard is still working on a History of EVE counter-example? And was the 4 issues of the WoW mag the answer to EON? Also shouldn’t DUST be HotS, in that both titles failed? I’d say OW is like the pet VR projects CCP is doing; both are nice little games no one will really care about in a few years.

      • Lomez says:

        Wait, are you predicting CCP’s VR projects will move 7 million copies in a week? I agree with almost all of your analysis on how awful Blizzard has been the last 5-6 years, but Overwatch is an exception.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Reality – Warcraft movie huge success in China, where it broke every single 5 day record in the country including opening night, opening day, two day, and five day records, practically guaranteeing a sequel.

    SynCaine’s make-belief imaginary universe – “Warcraft movie is a flop”.


    • SynCaine says:

      So now I’m also the author of the linked article calling the movie a bomb? Neat.

      • Anonymous says:

        “So now I’m also the author of the linked article” – No. The article says “‘Warcraft’ Bombs in U.S.”.
        Note the “in U.S.” part… not that the movie was a flop overall.
        But hey, anything to trash Blizzard, true or false, right?

        • SynCaine says:

          From the article: “global total at $286.1 million through Sunday. (The tentpole likely will need to earn $450 million or more to break even.)”

          So it bombed in the US, but might make it into the black if China stays strong.
          Yea no, totally not a bomb. My mistake. Warcraft; huge success after a 160 budget and a 24m domestic release! I’m sure Warcraft 2 will also feature a 160m budget, just wait!

  12. Anonymous says:

    “Yea no, totally not a bomb. My mistake”

    Syncaine – Can’t reply directly, must be a wordpress limit. But yes, it is your mistake.

    I don’t know if the movie will break even or not. Time will tell. Keep in mind the movie only opened the weekend before last internationally and only this last weekend in the US, so it has several more weeks to make or break.

    Per this list:

    Warcraft is currently the 11th most profitable movie in 2016. Out of 183 movies, being at spot number 11 from the top cannot be considered to be a failure. Unless you are determined to call anything touched by Blizzard a failure, regardless of facts…

    Please note also that *all* top 10 movies had *over 50%* of their gross income from international markets, so Warcraft is not unique in that regards. It is unique in how much the income comes from international, but looking at US income only as you seem to be insisting is a huge distortion.

    • SynCaine says:

      You can click ‘reply’ on your post above, and it will place the comment below my response. I have nesting limited to 3, otherwise the format gets too tight.

      It’s early in 2016, so while Warcraft is currently 11, it won’t finish the year at 11. Maybe top 20, but even that I think is iffy. Realistically looking at that list, only the top 5 I’d say are at the blockbuster level right now (remember break-even is generally 2x budget, and you go up from 2x depending on your international distribution deals (you might pay more so see even less of that money)). Given its 160m budget, the established IP, and the fortunate timing of the release (nothing big came out the same week in the US), its a bomb in the US, and is doing ok internationally (it did amazing in China).

      Since I guess no one is going to Google it, here is why bombing in the US is a killer. The US is the most lucrative market in the world, so if you have a franchise that sucks in the US, directors/actors/advertisers/etc aren’t as attracted to that franchise, which now means you are getting second-tier or lower people involved in future movies. You also aren’t likely to get 160m the next time to make a movie you expect to only do great in China. So sure, the China result likely means a sequel, but unless a miracle happens for the first movie, that sequel will basically be aimed at China and will reflect that. That wasn’t the goal for this movie, not by a long shot.

      Doing well in the US is why BvS was called a bomb as well, despite the amount of money it made. That movie was intended to start up the DC Universe for future films, but due to its lukewarm results in the US, future movies are already being impacted. If someone just looked at the pure total, they would walk away thinking BvS was a huge success, which is why you can’t just do that. Warcraft isn’t as ‘important’ as BvS in terms of setting future expectations and franchises, but the same general principle do apply.

      • Anonymous says:

        TL;DR – personal opinions, future predictions (guesses) and partial truths (movie did not do well in the US) do not make Warcraft a failure.

        You are making predictions that may or may not come true in order to justify your words. If in a month or two you turn out to be correct – good on you. At this point in time though, it’s a logical fallacy to depend on such an argument.

        You say “the US only matters” (for the purposes of film income). Even if the film doesn’t make a ton of money, since when is “mildly profitable” equal to “failing”?

        A few other counter points:
        * “established IP” – it is established only among gamers, and not that many of them either. As you consistently point out in many other posts, MOBAs (LoL), FPS games and mobile are much much bigger than any MMO including WoW.

        * “if you have a franchise that sucks in the US, directors/actors/advertisers/etc aren’t as attracted to that franchise” – wild guess or personal opinion, unless you have a citation. In fact with a movie this strong in international markets (not just China – Russia, Germany also among others) I personally expect the sequel to draw more interest from various sources including actors.

        * “which now means you are getting second-tier or lower people involved in future movies” – first of all about the director, I think everybody, even critics, would be happy if Duncan Jones directed the sequel – he did a bang-up job on this one. As for the actors, as far as I know there were already only “second-tier or lower” actors in this one, so I don’t expect the sequel to be different. You’re making a null point, even if it were not a wild guess.

        * “You also aren’t likely to get 160m … not by a long shot.” – This whole paragraph is a mix of guesswork and personal opinion, all adding up to exactly nothing. “sequel will basically be aimed at China”? You have no way of knowing that and in fact I would argue that this sentance does not even make sense, considering the story is based on the lore of Warcraft. Will the orcs suddednly be Chinese? “That wasn’t the goal for this movie” – The goal was to tell the story of Warcraft, based on existing lore. Well that, and to make money.

        • SynCaine says:

          This is my blog, where I give my opinion. It would be a very boring blog if all I did was repeat facts that have already happened. I predicted Warcraft would bomb long before it was released (opinion), this is a post providing a 3rd-party link that states the movie bombed (fact).

          I won’t because it would be boring, but if I wanted to I could in two months make a post using your post as the baseline, to show where I was right and you were wrong.

          As for your counter-points:

          WoW has more former players than LoL currently has players. It’s a big fucking IP, period. Something that was generating 1b+ yearly isn’t a niche, however you want to define that.
          Actors – Not going to further explain this one, but keep it in mind if/when the sequel gets made.
          Director – Calling the guy who released a bomb as doing a ‘bang-up job’ is a weird way to evaluate job performance.
          160m – Again if/when the sequel gets made, return to what you wrote and see how it played out. I won’t be surprised, my guess is you will be.

        • Anonymous says:

          I’m not objecting to your stating your opinions on your blog. I’m objecting to you (a) stating them as facts and (b) drawing false conclusions based on them.

          You also keep mis-quoting the site you yourself linked. I corrected you once, I see no reason to bother doing so again. I can understand perhaps mis-reading the article’s title once, but doing it a second time after being corrected points to malicious intent to derail the argument, rather then any real wish to debate the merits of your case.

          You could be 100% correct in 2 months – it still wouldn’t make you correct *now*. Drawing conclusions based on incomplete data and guesses does not make for a compelling case. Using your words, it makes for a “boring” one, because there’s no real case to argue against.

        • SynCaine says:

          Here, a little more reading you can write off as non-factual. Get back to me when it crosses 450m to break even and not be a complete bust. (Because we are going to ignore China money being worth less than even EU money for the sake of this being remotely interesting)


  13. One thing is clear: the promo attached to Regal theaters in the US will likely not get many new players into WoW. I expect to see more realm mergers soon after Legion releases.

  14. HandOfGod137 says:

    So, your ongoing quest to gain support for the position that everyone should hate what you hate still going strong, SynCaine? Let’s not let any evidence get in the way then, eh?


    • SynCaine says:

      Sites basically impossible to read with adblocker (making it a site that shouldn’t be visited), but seeing as how nobody in the US went to see the movie, I’d say my quest is going swimmingly, thanks.

    • Anonymous says:

      That article in Wire says:
      “Legendary Pictures’ Warcraft opened in the United States with just over $24 million at the box office. For a summer blockbuster that cost an estimated $160 million to make, that’s a flop any way you look at it; in fact, it made less in its opening weekend than recent summer flops Battleship, The Lone Ranger, even Fantastic Four.”
      How come it’s an evidence than SyncCaine is completely wrong?

      • Caldazar says:

        That is … really sad. Did you stop reading the article so it would prove your point? As the next sentence starts with the word ‘but’ and explains why it is not a flop.

        Copy pasting half of what it says and pretending an article supports you is sad.

        • Anonymous says:

          I did read the whole article, and it said that the movie is doing great in China. Same as what SynCaine said in his blog piece – “over in Asia it did very well”. It was clear to me that his MAIN point was that the movie is a flop in US. And it is. Obviously, if you are not living in US, your perspective is different. Fine with me. You may call it “sad”. That’s also ok with me.

  15. Ekstmplar says:

    I think you’re underestimating the importance of the Asian market in 2016 and going forward. The us and European markets have stagnated while the Asian market has exploded.

    I mean even for Apple products the Chinese market alone is on the nip of overtaking the American market.

    The Warcraft movie sucked and it tanked in the west, but we’re moving into a financial world where the US isn’t going to be the main target audience for global companies.

    • SynCaine says:

      I agree, but China is, today, not as important as the US for movies, and Warcraft was released now, not in a few years. China specifically is also different (more corrupt) than other markets, so you don’t get the same return or profit for a sale.

      An easy example is WoW itself; a player in China isn’t worth nearly as much to Blizzard as a US/EU player. That aspect isn’t unique to MMOs.

  16. Caldazar says:

    I find what is happening with the warcraft movie rather odd.
    I went to watch it on the urging of my girlfriend (who does not play wow, while I do), and we would both give it about a 7.5/10. Not great, but more enjoyable than quite a few other movies we’ve seen. It was hit and miss in different parts (acting quality was all over the place, cgi was great in some places and horrid in others. Magic looked awesome though).

    If find it really weird how hard critics bombed the movie, and it was certainly not that bad. And just glancing at IMDB’s user vs. critic scores, I’m not the only one thinking that. The film has a 7.7/10 score with users, and just 32/100 with critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film gets a 26% “rotten” from critics, with 83% of viewers liking it. I also don’t think it is fanboys voting it up, or at least not just that, as wow has a quite large amount of active haters to compensate that.

    Still, entertaining movie. Bombed in the US, probably a moderate success in the rest of the world and I reckon we will get a follow up, and I’ll be going into that one with more expectations, based on quality of this one. PS: I also think the current movie will massively increase in quality with the release of the extended edition, as it suffered from feeling rushed and too short.

Comments are closed.