Generally, 2015 has been an incredible year for Universal. It's responsible for three of the top five earners in the country: "Jurassic World,""Furious 7," and "Minions." But no one is bulletproof in Hollywood, and that's evident with one of the studio's most recent releases.
"Jem and the Holograms," the movie reboot of the popular late-1980s cartoon, opened in wide release October 23 and has done so poorly that Universal appears to be yanking it from theaters after only two weeks. Though a small number of theaters have the movie on their schedules, it has disappeared from most theaters, and Universal isn't reporting any box-office figures for it after last week.
This is an unheard of move for a movie that was in theaters nationwide.
Just how bad did JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS perform? Universal pulled in from theaters after 2 weeks ($2.1M)--unheard of for a wide release.— Exhibitor Relations (@ERCboxoffice) November 9, 2015
But when you crunch the numbers, it's clear they had to stop the bleeding.
Things didn't start out well for the movie, as early reviews were awful, with the film currently at a 20% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Many critics noted that it wasn't true to the TV show, basically alienating core fans.
Then the harsh numbers were reported.
"Jem" came in 15th place its opening week in theaters, taking in $1.37 million on 2,413 screens. That's $570 per screen.
Things didn't get any better for the movie its following week. In 2,417 screens, "Jem" took in $387,925. That's only $160 per screen. To compare, the new "Steve Jobs" film, even when it was performing poorly in wide release, was making $1,080 per screen.
But taking the movie out of theaters instead of scaling it down was a shock to box-office vets who thought they'd seen everything.
"Theater chains are contractually obligated to hold a film for two weeks after booking it. However, in all my days as an analyst, I've never seen a studio actually stop reporting after two weeks," Jeff Bock, senior box-office analyst at Exhibitor Relations, told Business Insider Monday. "This is unprecedented, and shows just how badly this film flopped. Not only is it the lowest-grossing debut for a studio film this year, but it's the worst all-time — by a considerable margin — for any film released in 2,000-plus theaters."
With a reported budget of only $5 million and obviously little promotion, it won't be a huge dent in Universal's monster year at the box office.
But it's safe to say that the "Jem and the Holograms" franchise has flatlined.
Universal has not responded to our request for comment on this story.