After sitting on the shelf for almost two years, Geostorm finally opened last weekend and received a 13% on Rotten Tomatoes and only pulled in $66.8 million. With a reported budget of $120 million plus $15 million for reshoots, the film would needed to make $300 to $350 million just to break even according to TheWrap. Usually, the bar for a blockbuster is higher, but Warner Bros. decided to cut it losses and slash the marketing budget after realizing that they had a turkey on their hands. Analysts expect that Geostorm will limp to $200 million worldwide after opening in China, which means it could be $100 million in the red.
What’s surprising is that the calculus here doesn’t really change anything for anybody. If a flop happens and no one is held accountable, does it make a sound? Maybe director Dean Devlin has more trouble trying to direct a movie in the future, but he’s still the guy who wrote Independence Day, which has some clout. Not a single actor risked their career on this movie, so it’s not going to impact Gerard Butler, Jim Sturgess, et al. None of the actors even appeared on the poster for the movie.
Even Warner Bros. comes out pretty well despite the film’s flop. Despite having the flops of Geostorm and King Arthur, the studio is still riding high thanks to Wonder Woman, Dunkirk, Annabelle: Creation, and It. And will studios stop making big, dumb blockbuster movies? Probably not! The only thing that Geostorm could caution against is studios taking chances on non-franchise properties, and even that’s a stretch. It’s not like studios were going to stop adapting TV series, comics, books, etc. if Geostorm had been a massive hit.
The only player here who will probably feel the sting is co-financier Skydance, which also took a hit earlier this year with Baywatch. But even that’s not saying much since in 2018 they’re producing partners on Annihilation and Mission: Impossible 6. So even though Geostorm was a massive flop, even in tanking, failed to make waves.