When the first trailer for “Monster Trucks” dropped this summer, the collective reaction from the internet could best be summarized as LOL WTF. The buzz on the Paramount Pictures release already wasn’t so hot given they had shifted the release date three times, and the trailer confirmed the movie as a misguided, CGI filled concoction about a kid, a monster truck, and a Flubber like creature. And the studio is already well aware they likely have a bomb on their hands.
In a rare move for a major studio, who tend to make these kinds of announcements after a movie is released and once the numbers have rolled in, Paramount’s parent Viacom has gone ahead an admitted that “a programming impairment charge of $115 million” that is “related to the expected performance of an unreleased film” is on the books for their fourth quarter finances, with THR confirming that picture in question is indeed “Monster Trucks.” Youch.
This is not good news for Paramount, who are already riding a rough year that one analyst says may see them in the red for as much as $500 million. The studio had some pretty major flops so far including “Ben-Hur” and “Zoolander 2,” and films that didn’t perform the way they were hoping such as “Star Trek Beyond.” And certainly, it will put a heavy burden on their remaining 2016 slate which includes “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” and awards season pictures “Allied” and “Fences,” and the comedy “Office Christmas Party.” (I think it’s increasingly less likely we’ll see Martin Scorsese‘s “Silence” before the year is out given how many pictures are already on deck).
However, looking ahead at 2017, while they have the likely slam dunk hits “Transformers: The Last Knight” (the last two entries in that franchise earned over $1 billion worldwide each) and “Baywatch” (everyone loves Dwayne Johnson), there are also question marks like “Ghost In The Shell” and “xXx: Return Of Xander Cage.”
All this to say, it looks like Paramount is already giving up on “Monster Trucks,” so I wouldn’t expect them to spend any more than they need to in the months ahead, before it opens on January 13, 2017.