Argylle | Apple’s new $200m Matthew Vaughn film hits a box office problem

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An $18m opening weekend at the US box office for Matthew Vaughn’s expensive new caper, Argylle: but will Apple be too bothered?

You can’t accuse Apple Studios of skimping on its film investments. Its last three theatrically-released feature films have cost a reported $200m apiece. Each has also enjoyed a good theatrical release window, and in the case of Martin Scorsese’s Killers Of The Flower Moon and Ridley Scott’s Napoleon, it’s earned a good chunk of that back.

With Matthew Vaughn’s hugely-hyped caper Argylle however, things haven’t quite gone to plan. Also costing a reported $200m, the early reviews were hardly glowing, but still: for a big, commercial movie, that’s far from the be all and end all.

The problem with Argylle though is that audiences haven’t declared that much interest in the film either. The box office returns in the US over the weekend were light, with an opening three days of $18m. It’s estimated the takings outside of America are mirroring that number too, with a worldwide total gross standing at $35.3m after its first weekend.

Read more: Argylle | A hat-tip to its indescribably vast marketing campaign

That’s below hopes and expectations, clearly, but it’s also worth noting that in the case of Argylle, it’s far from the whole picture. After all, whilst Apple is supporting cinema releases for its big features, the endgame is to get them on its Apple TV+ streaming service.

Sure, $200m is a lot to pay for a single film (especially contrasting with well-received modest box office hit The Beekeeper, which cost $40m to make), but also, there were plans for this to start a franchise. The chances of that happening seem to hinge on zillions of people finding the film via Apple TV+ in a few months.

The box office race of Argylle too is not fully run, but on opening weekend numbers, it’s got a job on its hands to get to $100m of global takings. Still, you never know: word of mouth may carry it forward. And Apple may yet be happy enough to start asking again about where the story goes next…

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