It is unlikely that a Power Rangers sequel will be made. The film performed well opening weekend, which attracted die-hard fans and curious newcomers, but ticket sales slumped in the following week. Yesterday, the movie opened in China—a major market for blockbuster films—where it earned a paltry $1.2m on its opening day, doing even worse than the latest King Arthur reboot (at $1.5m), which itself had meager projections.
Power Rangers is the film reboot of the popular kids’ series from the 90s. While the TV show has endured for twenty-five years and through many iterations, this was the first time Power Rangers has made it to the big screen since 1997. Directed by Dan Israelite, the reboot saw the return of the classic Mighty Morphin Power Rangers characters with updated origins and a somewhat more serious tone—somewhere in between Marvel’s camp and DC’s grit. The film is notable for being the first blockbuster movie to have autistic and gay characters, which garnered much goodwill from audiences. The film, itself, however, received only mixed reviews and worse box office.
Despite a strong opening, the film hasn’t had strong follow-up weekends and is now likely to leave theaters on a $85 million domestic total, with the international total not making up the difference. This has led to Forbes speculating that a sequel is unlikely.
It is possible that a sequel could still be made. Power Rangers was a co-production, which decreased the financial liability for both sides. Combined with the built-in audience and the possibility of the film receiving a second life on Blu-Ray, it may still turn a profit.
The reboot was a strong addition to the franchise, but it was not without its shortcomings. Power Rangers suffered from the expository problems that plague many origin stories, and this issue was magnified by the need to introduce five superhero characters rather than one. It also didn’t help that the film spent a great deal of time setting up its sequel(s) – similar to the critically reviled Independence Day: Resurgence – believing that franchising was inevitable. In that way, much of Power Rangers was a two-hour trailer for a movie that we will likely now never see. Dan Israelite himself even revealed the plan was to make multiple sequels even before the film finished pre-production.
When Star Trek: The Motion Picture was released in 1979, it received far worse than the middling reviews of Power Rangers. Paramount brought in new blood and saddled the movie with a smaller budget. The result was The Wrath of Khan, which is not only the high watermark of Star Trek films, but a landmark science fiction story. A similar strategy could work for Power Rangers, albeit with one major caveat; as poorly received as Star Trek: The Motion Picture was, it made enough money to justify the risk. If anything, this should be a lesson on allowing producers to dictate the content of a film rather than the creatives.