In 2007, Hollywood tried to bring the world of Hitman to the mainstream; however, the film ultimately bombed critically and domestically, scoring a low 16% on rotten tomatoes and garnering $39.7 million. The main reason that executives decided to revisit the popular video game is due to the fact that it made a little over $101 million worldwide, thus making it a financial success. This time, Rupert Friend takes over the role as the title character and his latest target is a corporation that plans to unlock the secrets of his past. Unfortunately, the critics weren’t better receptive of this movie, as it scored an abysmal 8%. More importantly, the reboot opened with a weak $8.2 million, though it made a good return of $82.3 million. So why is it a flop when it made more than its reported $35 million production budget? Because Hitman: Agent 47 was expected to draw big numbers for the studio and the film actually had an end credits scene with a sequel in mind. 20th Century Fox was silent regarding a sequel and with the studio being purchased by Disney, the hopes of another Hitman grow slimmer and slimmer by the day. So, what happened? The film is based on a popular video game that should’ve helped amass more money from American audiences. Let’s dive deeper into the reasoning that Hitman: Agent 47 bombed at the box office.
Hitman: Agent 47 Followed the Path of Another Terrible Video Game Adaptation
Hitman: Agent 47 was bad. What makes little sense is that the studio hired the exact same writer of the 2007 film, Skip Woods. Originally, Hitman was scheduled to have a sequel with a new writer attached; however, Timothy Olyphant – the first Agent 47 – made it clear that he had no interest in returning to the role. There’s no exact reason why the studio opted to scrap the planned sequel, but that’s likely the main reasoning for the canceled production. The baffling part is that the studio brought back Skip Woods. The critical reception was brutal for the first film, so the studio should’ve understood that bringing back a different writer was essential. It’s bad enough that Hollywood can’t seemingly get a video game adaptation right, which is odd since the source material for Hitman is pretty great. There’s a couple of changes that are necessary for the film medium, but it’s completely possible to make a strong video game adaptation.
The Lego Movie has proven that you can made a great film out of anything if good writers and directors are on board. Even Sonic the Hedgehog is a good little film. No offense to Skip Woods, but his filmography does not contain a track record of good films. His string of movies is Sabotage, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and Swordfish. Agent 47 was an incoherent mess that failed to make the lead character interesting. The most glaring issue is that Agent 47 is supposed to be an emotionless and stone-cold killer. That works in the video game because the player is in control of the action and narrative, but the film can’t simply have a protagonist that doesn’t emote. Not surprisingly, Rupert Friend does the best he can do with the material, but he’s let down by the script at nearly every turn. With the lack of good video game adaptations, the faith continues to dwindle in regard to Hollywood finally getting the source material correct. All the pieces of the puzzle are there; however, it didn’t seem that 20th Century Fox really cared too much about the quality as long as the money came in.
The First Hitman Failed to Impress Audiences
Based on the box office numbers, it’s safe to assume that international audiences loved the Hitman films alot better than the Americans. The first Hitman was someone better but wasn’t outright terrible like the attempted reboot. However, it failed in the character department, confusing mind-numbing action for plot development, and it had some of the worst dialogue ever seen in a film. There was never a high demand for a reboot, but there was some hope that the studio corrected most of its mistakes from the first feature. Then the trailer dropped, and it appeared that it was nearly identical to its predecessor, which isn’t a good thing. Audiences figured that the film was going to be no good based off the trailer, thus there was no point in shelling out money for a movie that they didn’t particularly enjoy all too much in 2007. As I previously stated, the ingredients are there to make a compelling Hitman film, but it clearly wants to be a mindless action vehicle. Unfortunately, it couldn’t even squeeze out any entertainment based on that notion.
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