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Like getting blood from a stone: King Arthur bombs at US box office

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 15/05/2017 By Adam White
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Related: King Arthur: Is Charlie Hunnam a king or a peasant? (Provider: ITN)

And the summer blockbuster season has its first official bomb. It turned out that the relentless mockery over David Beckham's cameo role may have been a worrisome omen for King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, which opened at the US box office this weekend to a lowly $14.7 million take. With the movie costing $175 million to produce, plus the millions spent on promotion, it'll need some magic of its own to somehow break even.

The grungy re-imagining of the medieval tale was initially earmarked as the beginning of another one of those crushingly inevitable "shared universe" franchises, with multiple spin-offs introducing other major characters like Lancelot and Merlin, who would then eventually come together for their own Avengers-style Camelot movie. Warner Bros had also spent over a decade attempting to bring a new iteration of the story to the big screen.

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But the expensive flop has proven to be yet another bad bet for the beleaguered studio, whose recent original properties (among them Live by Night, Chips and Fist Fight) have all underperformed, while their DC Comics movies have been commercially successful if endlessly drubbed by fans and critics alike. Kong: Skull Island and The Lego Batman Movie have been the studio's sole hits in 2017 so far.

King Arthur is also the second Guy Ritchie film in two years to crater at the box office, with 2015's spy reboot The Man from U.N.C.L.E. grossing just over $100 million worldwide on a budget of $75m, audiences turning their noses up at the breathtakingly charismatic Henry Cavill in his first post- Superman leading role.

According to box office data, however, it's not all bad news for leading man Charlie Hunnam . According to Deadline, CinemaScore polling indicated that 47% of audiences came out purely for Hunnam himself, indicating a significant fanbase for the British star.

Elsewhere at the box office, the Amy Schumer / Goldie Hawn comedy Snatched proved to be effective counter-programming for the non-Guardians of the Galaxy crowd, grossing $17.5 million on a healthier budget of $42 million, with Deadline indicating that Hawn, returning to the big screen after 15 years, was a major draw for audiences.

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