Lionsgate and Saban are joining forces to bring the Power Rangers back to the big screen - a place they haven't visited since Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie bombed at the box office with a worldwide take around $9.6 million. Twenty years will have passed since Turbo, by the time the movie reboot opens in theaters in 2017 - and during that time, the Rangers franchise has continued to prosper on the small screen (as well as across other mediums).
Power Rangers, the film reboot, is currently slated to arrive in the month of January - a month that, historically, has been viewed as the dumping ground for studio movies, following the winter holiday season rush. However, American Sniper having taken in $89 million when it expanded into wide release (back in January 2015) has firmly disproven the notion that moviegoers (as a rule) simply don't go to see films in large (re: summer and/or holiday-time) numbers during the first month of the year.
Lionsgate Motion Pictures Group Co-Chairman Rob Friedman cited the success of American Sniper as evidence that January doesn't have to be a dead spot (when it comes to a movie's commercial prospects), during the company's latest conference call with analysts (hat tip The Wrap). Here is the statement from Friedman, regarding Power Rangers' release date shuffle:
“We’re very excited and with Dean’s [Israelite] vision; we felt very comfortable looking for opportunistic dating. We really believe that great movies deliver no matter what date they’re on.”
The decision to move Power Rangers away from late July 2016 - where it would've opened directly against the Ghostbusters reboot and Guy Ritchie's King Arthur movie (followed a week later by the new Jason Bourne installment) - made sense, as was noted in our write-up back when the move happened. Similarly, the shift to January likewise isn't a bad idea, given how packed both the second half of 2016 and first half of 2017 already are with big tentpoles, sequels, and so forth.
... And, to be honest, the Power Rangers movie series isn't necessarily robust enough to suggest that the reboot could face strong competition and still perform really well, commercially speaking. Indeed, Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer also offered his assurances that the film is being strategically placed to thrive - as he told analysts, "We're picking a date where we think we can win."
Something like Kingsman: The Secret Service performed quite well financially in the first quarter of 2015, but the comic adaptation might've not fared nearly as well had it opened in May or June of this year - where it would've had to face-off with the likes of Avengers: Age of Ultron, Mad Max: Fury Road, and Jurassic World for attention from the geek cinema-loving crowd. Point being, if Power Rangers catches on with moviegoers, its January release date might allow it the breathing room it needs to takeoff (a la like Kingsman did).
Question now is, will Power Rangers be able to draw in both established fans and newcomers to the world of "morphin" costumed heroes? Dean Israelite has only the moderately-successful found-footage sci-fi thriller Project Almanac under his belt as director, though he'll be drawing from a script by Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz - co-writers on films like Thor and X-Men: First Class, as well as the TV shows Fringe and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.
That team has arguably proven to be capable of delivering a solid reboot - one that might also resolve what some have dubbed the "Power Rangers' Identity Crisis" (read: how it's long been designed as a kids-only property, despite having a lot of adult fans). Basically, there is potential for something good to come from all this business-as-usual surrounding the revival of the Power Rangers on the big screen.
Power Rangers opens in U.S. theaters on January 13th, 2017.
Source: The Wrap