The belated third instlament of Ron Howard’s adaptations of Dan Brown’s bestsellers had a lukewarm opening weekend in the US. Inferno brings Tom Hanks back as symbologist Robert Langdon, only this time he’s got amnesia and is in a race against time to stop a deadly virus from wiping out half the population.
Seven years on from Angels and Demons, and it seems as though US audiences are less keen on the franchise that started with The Da Vinci Code a decade ago. Inferno launched in the US with a Friday haul of just $5.7 million for an estimated opening weekend somewhere in the $16-20 million bracket. We won’t know the exact numbers until monday morning, but even if Inferno came in at the high end of that estimate, it will still be a far cry from what Sony were predicting last week ($30-35 million).
Back in 2009, Angels and Demons pulled in a solid opening weekend of $46 million, a huge drop from the $77 million that The Da Vinci Code amassed in 2006. Angels and Demons still went on to gross a respectable $485 million, but this was almost $300 million below the final tally of The Da Vinci Code.
Sony was only too aware that they needed to reduce the budget for the third chapter and slashed the Inferno budget in half to a lean $75 million. While that’s still a staggering sum of money, Angels and Demons cost more than $150 million to produce, so the upside is that Inferno should easily turn a little profit. Those odds are increased when you take into account that Inferno has already made more than $100 million internationally, so its tepid US opening isn’t the end of the world. However, unless Inferno can heat up around the rest of the world, it could very well be the end of the franchise.