News that Land Of The Lost has performed dismally at the box office will do little to help the growing suspicion among analysts that 2009 will be a poor year for sci-fi and fantasy at cinemas.
The Will Ferrell-lead remake of the classic TV show is predicted to take a relatively paltry $19 million in its first weekend and follows the surprisingly underwhelming box-office performance of Terminator Salvation, which finally crawled across the $100 million mark in the States over the past few days. The failure of these big budget genre efforts to light up the charts is compounded by some lacking US box office turns from earlier in the year, most notably from Watchmen ($107 million), Knowing ($79 million), Underworld: Rise Of The Lycans ($45 million), Push ($31 million), Race To Witch Mountain ($65 million) and Inkheart ($17 million). Even the year’s bigger hits – Star Trek and X-Men Origins: Wolverine (currently on $222 million and $174 million respectively) – haven’t hit the heights of the Spider-Mans and Pirates Of The Caribbeans of previous years, forcing questions to be asked about event movie fatigue from audiences in tough economic times.
The pressure is on then for the remainder of 2009’s tentpole releases to perform. But will the likes of Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen, Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince and Avatar, arguably the year’s biggest gamble, revive sci-fi and fantasy’s fortunes at the box office in 2009 or continue the worrying trend?