The Rhythm Section was a record-breaking box office bomb during its opening weekend. Typically, January is when studios dump their less-appealing projects with limited commercial prospects, but there have been some exceptions to that rule in recently. Last year, Glass posted $40.3 million domestically in its opening weekend (fifth-most all-time for January), giving Universal a profitable hit. And it was only a few weeks ago delayed action sequel Bad Boys for Life exceeded expectations and posted a strong $73 million over Martin Luther King Weekend. All that’s to say, it is possible for January releases to be successful.

Director Reed Morano’s The Rhythm Section was hoping to experience such fortunes when it opened in theaters last Friday, January 31. Unfortunately, the film wasn’t much of a critical darling, receiving mostly negative reviews. That word-of-mouth had a major impact on its box office performance, and The Rhythm Section ended up making the wrong kind of history in its debut.

According to Forbes, The Rhythm Section grossed $2.8 million domestically in its first three days, which ranks as the worst opening ever for a film premiering in more than 3,000 theaters. This past weekend, The Rhythm Section played in 3,049 locations, averaging only $890 per theater.

This is hardly the start to 2020 Paramount wanted, particularly after the studio’s rough 2019 marred by notorious flops such as Gemini Man and Terminator: Dark Fate. Even though The Rhythm Section wasn’t nearly as expensive as those bombs (its production budget was a modest $50 million), that doesn’t really do anything to soften the blow. Going by the general rule of thumb, the film would need to gross approximately $100 million worldwide to break even, and instead it’s projected to be a $40 million loss for the studio. There was hope that perhaps The Rhythm Section could spawn a new franchise (the book on which it’s based is part of a series of novels), but that obviously isn’t going to happen now. Paramount has no real incentive to greenlight a followup.

Instead, Paramount will have to bank on one of their upcoming releases to turn things around. Next week’s Sonic the Hedgehog is projected to open lower than fellow video game movie Detective Pikachu, so the studio might have to wait until a little later in the year. They have anticipated films like A Quiet Place Part II and Top Gun: Maverick on the horizon, which should be nice draws at the box office. Hopefully for their sake, Paramount is able to score a hit soon. If nothing else, there are two Mission: Impossible sequels coming through the pipeline.

More: The Rhythm Section Ending & Sequel Setup Explained

Source: Forbes