Box-Office Bomb: 'King Arthur' Opens to Disastrous $15M Behind 'Snatched'

King Arthur- Legend of the Sword and Snatched Still - Split 2 - Publicity - H 2017
Left, courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures; Right, courtesy of Justina Mintz

'King Arthur' is a flop of epic proportions after costing $175 million to make; 'Snatched' enjoyed a huge Mother's Day spike to land at $19.5 million. Holdover 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2' easily beat both new offerings.

The second weekend of summer at the North American box office took no prisoners.

Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow's male-fueled King Arthur: Legend of the Sword — costing $175 million to make before marketing — is a flop of epic proportions after launching to $15.4 million from 3,702 theaters to mark the first big bomb of summer 2017 and one of the worst openings ever for a big-budget studio event film. It also is falling on its sword overseas, and could be facing a major loss. 

The final weekend number of $15.4 million was up slightly from Sunday's $14.7 million estimate.

Piling on more bad news, the movie was topped in the U.S. by Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn's Snatched in a surprise upset. The Mother's Day action-comedy opened to $19.5 million from 3,501 theaters. The R-rated film saw a huge 25 percent jump on Sunday to come in $2 million ahead of Sunday's $17.5 million estimate.

Fox spent a relatively modest $42 million to make Snatched, but was likely hoping for a bigger bow, considering Schumer's Trainwreck debuted to $30 million in summer 2015.

Produced by Chernin Entertainment, director Jonathan Levine's Snatched follows a mother and daughter who find themselves trying to escape after being abducted on vacation in Ecuador. The comedy, which received mediocre reviews and a B CinemaScore, marks Hawn's first turn on the big screen in 15 years, as well as Schumer's first film since Trainwreck.

Schumer may be controversial, but Snatched succeeded in red states. The comedy overindexed in all parts of the country, save for the Rockies and Western states. Specific markets that overindexed included cities in Florida, as well as Oklahoma City and San Antonio. Females made up 77 percent of the audience, while 51 percent of ticket buyers were between the ages of 18 and 34.

"Teaming an edgy comedian with a comedian who is America's sweetheart is like the consummate political ticket that makes sure all of your constituents are served," said Fox president domestic distribution Chris Aronson.

Snatched placed No. 2 behind Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which easily stayed atop the box-office chart in its second weekend, declining a respectable 57 percent to $63 million from 4,347 theaters. (The Disney and Marvel sequel grossed $16.4 million on Friday alone, more than King Arthur did over its entire weekend.) Guardians Vol. 2 has now grossed $246.2 million domestically and $384.4 million overseas for a global haul of $630.6 million, including $80.5 million in China.

King Arthur, starring Charlie Hunnam as the mythical king, is a dark origin story about the future royal's tough upbringing in the back alleys of his city. But once Arthur pulls the sword from the stone, he is forced to acknowledge his true legacy. Jude Law, Astrid Berges-Frisbey, Djimon Hounsou, Aidan Gillen and Eric Bana also star.

"The concept didn't resonate with a broad audience, and we're disappointed. We had higher hopes," said Warner Bros. domestic distribution chief Jeff Goldstein. The studio also missed with Pan (2015) and Jack the Giant Slayer (2013), which were likewise attempts to spin new live-action franchises based on classic IP, as leader Disney has done with any number of hits, including the recent Beauty and the Beast.

King Arthur, whose release was delayed numerous times, was skewered by critics, but received a B+ CinemaScore from audiences. Males made up nearly 60 percent of the audience.

Overseas, the pic lagged behind both Guardians Vol. 2, which raked in another $52.2 million in its third weekend, and the $42 million launch of Ridley Scott's Alien: Covenant in 34 markets. Conversely, King Arthur debuted to a tepid $29.1 million from its first 51 markets, including a miserable $5.1 million in China. It still has numerous major markets in which to open, including the U.K. and Australia.

Rounding out the top five domestically were The Fate of the Furious and The Boss Baby.

Elsewhere on the North American chart, Lowriders, from Blumhouse's BH Title and Imagine in association with Telemundo, cracked the top 10 despite playing in only 269 theaters. Targeting Hispanic audiences, the drama earned a pleasing $2.4 million to place No. 8.

The Met: Live in HD continued to prosper as Saturday's live broadcast of Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier opera grossed $1.7 million from 900 screens to come in No. 10.

At the specialty box office, Eleanor Coppola's Paris Can Wait, starring Diane Lane, Alec Baldwin and Arnaud Viard, fared nicely for Sony Pictures Classics, earning $101,825 from four theaters for a per screen average of $25,456, the best of the weekend for any film. It is the first narrative feature directed by Coppola, who is Francis Coppola's wife.

May 14, 7:40 a.m. Updated with weekend estimates.

May 15, 7:20 a.m. Updated with final weekend numbers for King Arthur and Snatched.

Weekend Box Office 5/14/17

Weekend Box Office Chart Actuals - Source: comScore
Weekend Cume Theaters Week
1. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 $65.3M $248.4M 4,347 2
2. Snatched $19.5M $19.5M 3,501 1
3. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword $15.4M $15.4M 3,702 1
4. The Fate of the Furious $5.4M $215.1M 3,067 5
5. Beauty and the Beast $4.8M $494.1M 2,172 9
6. The Boss Baby $4.5M $162.3M 2,911 7
7. How to be a Latin Lover $3.9M $26.3M 1,123 3
8. Lowriders $2.4M $2.4M 295 1
9. The Circle $1.8M $18.9M 2,132 3
10. MET Opera: Der Rosenkavalier (2017) $1.7M $1.7M 900 1