Producer Andrew Form on ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2’ Underperforming at the Box Office
2014’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was a pretty big hit. It grossed $493 million worldwide off a $125 million budget, and while I wasn’t a fan of the movie, I completely understand why the studio greenlit and fast-tracked a sequel. That sequel, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, drastically underperformed at the box office, going on to gross only $245 million, less than half of what the first film made.
Speaking to producers Andrew Form and Brad Fuller about their new movie, Ouija: Origin of Evil, Steve Weintraub asked to get their thoughts on TMNT 2, which they also produced. Form was circumspect on the matter, and walked us through their realization that the sequel was going to be a flop:
ANDREW FORM: We were obviously surprised at the box office results. We loved the movie. We loved making the movie. From our first Super Bowl teaser to everything we launched, we felt so good about our material, and for some reason it did not find the audience that the first movie found. And we talk about it all the time, and we tried to figure it out, but we cannot put our finger on what happened. We really can’t. It’s just one of those things where we feel like we made a really great movie; we thought at the time that our release date was great, and we added all these new characters with Bebop and Rocksteady and Baxter Stockwell had a big role in the movie and Casey Jones and for some reason when it came to opening weekend…Even before the movie came out, we were feeling great. And you wake up two days before the movie opens and you go, “Wow, I don’t know if this movie is tracking as well as it should.” Then you hope, and then Thursday night happens and your midnights come in and you’re like, “That’s not what Movie 1 did,” and then sure enough your weekend comes and it’s nowhere near what anyone thought, and it’s nowhere near Movie 1, and, before you know it, it’s over. We’re still so proud of the movie; it just didn’t find an audience. We really don’t know why.
FORM: I think one thing we did learn is you really need to give—you can’t just add characters to a movie and expect that to be what’s fresh. It’s a sequel. You have to give the audience something that’s really new and fresh. Maybe just adding characters from the canon, that wasn’t enough.
And yet it does seem like they had a clear vision for their movie, and by their own admission, they achieved that vision, which was making a film that was more in line with the 1980s TV series:
FORM: We set out to make a poppy, colorful, fun, add all these fun characters that people had grown up with—and like you said, bring the cartoon to life, and we feel like [director] Dave Green executed that perfectly and made a great movie, so what we set out for, we feel like we accomplished. It just didn’t find an audience.
So what does that mean for the franchise going forward? Well, as you probably surmised, don’t expect to see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3 any time soon, but that doesn’t mean we won’t ever see the Turtles again:
Because of the box office, does this mean there’s definitely no Turtles 3?
FORM: I don’t think there’s Turtles 3, but I wouldn’t say there’s never going to be another Turtles movie.