Foreign Box Office Will Not Help Metallica’s Through the Never
NOTE: This article is not making any attempt to assess Through the Never‘s success or failure as a work of art — only its success or failure as a business venture.
Foreign box office can be a real boon to the profits of American movies. For example, Guillermo del Toro’s recent megabudget monster vs. robot flick, Pacific Rim, did so well in China that there’s a sequel in development despite the fact that the film’s grosses in the U.S. were only okay.
So, presumably, Metallica and the other producers of their 3D extravaganza, Through the Never, were hoping that audiences abroad would help make up for the film’s less-than-stellar performance in the U.S.
Alas, it’s not looking promising.
Through the Never has now opened in twenty-five foreign territories across Europe, Asia, South America, and Australia, and to date, has only made $4,452,165 in those markets. Combined with its domestic earnings, that brings its total gross to $7,872,132 — not even half of its reported $18 million production budget, which doesn’t even include marketing costs.
It’s worth noting that the film could still be profitable (or at least not unprofitable) in the long-run. There are more territories where the film has yet to open or where box office receipts have yet to be reported (the French, for example, love art and artists in which the rest of the world seems to find no value, like Jerry Lewis and A Nightmare on Elm Street 2… so maybe they’ll be to Through the Never as China was to Pacific Rim). And there’s also other ancillary forms of revenue to be considered, like soundtrack sales, eventual Blu-ray and DVD sales, VOD and cable, etc… although those ain’t what they used to be in this day and age of easy-to-access torrents.
So we’re still aways away from being able to say with certainty whether or not Through the Never was a bad investment. But I can tell you one thing: no one in Hollywood is currently rushing to broker a deal for Slayer to make a 3D movie with the director of Die Hard 5.