Monday Morning Quarterback Part I
September 10, 2013
Kim Hollis: Riddick, the third film in the series that started way back in 2000 with Pitch Black, earned $19 million this weekend. What do you think of this result?
Brett Ballard-Beach: It's more than Pitch Black (even adjusted for inflation, but not by much) and less than Chronicles of Riddick (a lot less, A.F.I.). For a sequel/reboot that very few were clamoring for (and for a hard R vs. the PG-13 of the last one), this is a decent win in the usually dead post Labor Day weekend slot. It was inexpensive (Diesel financed almost all of it, I read) and so will be profitable when combined with even modest foreign returns. But still... this is how Diesel spends the cachet that the last three F & F's have afforded him? Also, I just now realized (I know, 13 years late) that our hero's name could be shortened to Dick B. Dick? No wonder he's able to turn the lesbians straight.
Jason Barney: By a number of measures this is a small success. First, history is never very kind to films released at this time of year, but Riddick at least brought some interest. Second, the $19 million opening is not a shining success, but it pretty much ensures the budget will be made back on this one. Also, when a franchise gets into the trilogy range, often the third film is the franchise killer. It appears this entry will allow for the possibility of future installments. Finally, this continues the recent run of success for Vin Diesel. It is nowhere in the ballpark of the Fast and Furious material, but he remains on top.
Edwin Davies: This is a pretty modest success for a pretty modest film. It was a passion project that Diesel and director David Twohy clearly cared a great deal about - to the extent that Diesel only agreed to appear in Tokyo Drift if he could have the rights to the Riddick character, inadvertently leading to this film being made and his subsequent huge Fast & Furious success - and they did everything they could to get it made, including keeping the budget low and funding it themselves or through foreign companies. It'll make a profit before it leaves theaters, probably a solid one if the international numbers improve on the previous films even a tiny bit, and maybe continuing the franchise. Perhaps not as a film series, but I could see them getting a few more pretty kickass video games out of the renewed interest brought by Riddick.
Reagen Sulewski: Five years ago, this would have been going straight to DVD, so it's hard to be disappointed at anything it's earned here. We weren't that far away from having Vin Diesel be the answer to a punchline and/or trivia question, and the job he's done at resurrecting his career (admittedly, by retreading old ground) is pretty remarkable. A lot of actors wouldn't have been able or willing to go this route.